Category: China

Enter the E-Yuan

China’s Digital Currency Gambit Intensifies Privacy Fears Amid Challenge to US Dollar

By Charles McDermid

China is racing to roll out a government-backed digital currency, aiming to compete with rising Fintech stars, expand the state’s mass surveillance — and potentially dethrone the U.S. dollar as the king of global currencies for the first time since World War II.

The launch of the electronic yuan — known officially as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) or more generally as a central bank digital currency (CBDC) — went into its second phase this month.

Global media cited the move as China’s goal to have the cyberpayment technology in place for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and Hebei province in northern China. 

In the shorter term, however, state banks promoted the e-yuan ahead of a national shopping festival Wednesday. 

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‘It Is Everywhere’

Mainland Chinese Fear Growing Use of Face Recognition 

By Patrick McShane

Facial-recognition technology is now one of the fastest-growing and most widely dispersed technologies in the world.  

But nowhere has high-resolution facial recognition become more prevalent than inside the People’s Republic of China.

The world’s second-largest economy has built a vast high-tech surveillance state unlike anywhere in the world.

According to experts in the global technology-surveillance industry, China has approximately 170 million close-circuit cameras around the nation, including at 200 airports.

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China Gets First Law for Data-Protection: Tech Giants Take Note

By Charles McDermid

China is fast-tracking the country’s first law to protect privacy and personal data, a long-awaited move heralded by pro-Beijing media but questioned by experts for not restricting state surveillance and for forcing economies to pick a side in the escalating tech war with the U.S.

The National People’s Congress, China’s powerful legislative body, last week released for public review the first draft of the Personal Information Protection Law.

If approved in the coming weeks, as expected, it would become China’s first unified national law on the protection of personal information.

No similar legislation exists in the United States.

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Is China Exporting ‘Surveillance Creep’ Throughout the World? Experts Weigh In

By Charles McDermid

First of two parts.

Concern has intensified in recent weeks over the global expansion of China’s so-called techno-authoritarianism, with Western media and the U.S. government warning that Beijing already is exporting its surveillance tactics around the world.

Critics of China’s data-collection policies have plenty of ammunition, from the use of new technology to spy on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities to the ambitious plan to develop a genetic map of 700 million Chinese men and boys. 

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Is Privacy Losing in US-China Fight for Control Over Data?

By Charles McDermid

Influence on global data-security standards has emerged as yet another Big Power battleground, with the United States and China promoting rival campaigns that are heavy on geopolitical posturing — but light on details about laws, enforcement and effect. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in August unveiled the “Clean Network” program to safeguard “sensitive information from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party.”

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‘Trusted Technology Partner’?

Privacy Experts Alarmed at Oracle’s Role in Proposed TikTok Deal

By Charles McDermid

The impact of the White House’s decision to ban TikTok and WeChat that began Sunday remained unclear, but global privacy experts were alarmed that Oracle Corp. could still become the “trusted technology partner” of the Chinese owner of the two widely popular apps.

They told Digital Privacy News that the possible deal marked the start of a global era of data localization, as nations scrambled to keep citizens’ personal data within their own borders. 

“It’s easier for a government to request data stored on its territory, provided that its laws authorize it,” said Emmanuel Pernot-Leplay, a researcher in data-protection law at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. “It’s much more difficult when it has to make a request for such data when they are stored abroad.

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