Experts offer views on improved Web governance
Editor's note: Five Chinese security and legal experts share their ideas on a series of questions related to major cyberspace-related issues, including the new cybersecurity law and organization of the industry.
Q1 China's first cybersecurity law was published in early November. What is your opinion on it and what effect do you think it will have?
Q2 Chinese judicial bodies, especially courts, have contributed a lot to combining legal services with the internet in recent years. What do you think about this and what issues should be considered in this process?
Q3 What urgent problems in the administration of cyberspace do you think should be resolved right now?
Q4 What topics or issues do you look forward to discussing at the WIC?
Q5 It's the third time that the WIC has been held in China. What consensus can be reached or should be reached at the conference?
Li Yuxiao, secretary-general of the Cybersecurity Association of China
A1 The first Cybersecurity Law is a big event for the nation, as the legislation was finally published after a long period of preparation.
It is a legal framework for the cybersecurity industry and will be important in dealing with security issues in the cyberspace.
The law first clarifies several hot issues, such as online personal information protection, emergency measures against cyber attacks and the responsbilities of Web enterprises. It can be taken as a guide in the industry and will also make people more confident when online threats occur, but it is still just a set of basic principles. Some practical and specific rules need to be added, updated or adjusted in the future as we meet new online security problems.
A2 The combination of laws and the internet should be encouraged. I'd like to see a greater connection among our legislation, justice and law enforcement, as well as improvements to judicial efficiency and credibility. But the connection is just the first step. The aim is to protect people's rights in cyberspace. How to ensure that the internet plays a greater role in helping residents solve their disputes is crucial as we promote the industry.
A3 When and whether the details of the new law can be made more specific is an urgent matter, as the more detailed the law is, the safer cyberspace will be. Meanwhile, more protection for young netizens is also an urgent issue. It's good that the protection of minors has been added to the law, but it's far from enough. Moreover, it's a must and urgent to draw up more international rules in cyberspace governance and reach more agreements in cross-border online crimes and security issues.
A4 I will host and participate in two forums at the WIC. One is to look at the developments, promotions and contributions the internet has made in recent years, while the other is to discuss with an international think tank. I'm looking forward to knowing what foreign guests' ideas about internet governance.
A5 What and how many consensuses we reach in a global conference, is not the most important issue. Instead, findings and explorations in governing cyberspace is needed more in such international communication and negotiation. Reaching an agreement or finding what we have in common takes time. What we should do is to be patient in the talks and make efforts to seek more common views.
Zuo Xiaodong, vicepresident of the China Information Security Research Institute
A1 The Cybersecurity Law, approved by the Standing Committee of National People's Congress on Nov 7, is a milestone.
For a long time, our country had no rule to abide by when online security problems arose. We could not ensure data security before, because we did not know what responsibilities enterprises and users should take, but now we have the answers in the law.
Our online products or services could not be protected and were often at high risk before, but now they can be protected thanks to the law. It responds to a number of cybersecurity problems.
A2 Like finance and transportation combined with the internet, judicial bodies are no exception. For example, I've paid attention to and applauded the establishment of "intelligent courts" in China.
It is a necessity in such internet era, but every court should be careful while dealing with people's privacy in judicial transparency. It had better make a rule to protect personal information, or else it will have a negative effect on the connection of the legal and internet sectors.
A3 The development of the Cybersecurity Law is just a part of our work in cyberspace governance. It cannot solve all online problems. We should also further study how to educate security talents and improve security technology at the same time. After all, the more comprehensive our governance is, the better we can protect cyberspace.
A4 I'm happy to be invited to the WIC. I would like to discuss what contributions the digital economy can make in the conference's forums. Besides, I am interested in the future development of China's e-commerce industry.
A5 Gathering together in Wuzhen to communicate is not an easy thing, let alone making some agreements in internet-related cooperation.
However, we should still be optimistic, as the more communication we have, the bigger possibility we will reduce difference in cyberspace governance and achieve more cooperation.
Fang Xingdong, founder of internet strategy think tank, Chinalabs
A1 It is the first time that the country has clarified a series of principles on cyberspace governance in a Cybersecurity Law, and it is the first time that clear parameters have been set out regarding the responsibilities of government, enterprises and individuals. In this way, it has a major significance. It's inevitable for China to build such a law and it will influence the country's network departments, ideas of the cyberspace governance, internet enterprise's business and netizens' online life a lot in future. In other words, governing cyberspace has a legal basis. I believe it will contribute to protecting state security and keeping cyberspace in order.
A2 Undoubtedly, people should be more careful when promoting innovative or creative products or services. Judicial transparency has a positive effect on people's interests and public supervision. Attention should be paid to how to avoid legal risks and protecting information security. Meanwhile, a quick response system to quickly handle emergencies brought by judicial openness is also urgently needed.
A3 One of the urgent issues in cyberspace governance is to build up a cyber attack prevention system with an open-minded attitude. Now, we are also short of research or studies on how to promote economic and social developments via the internet. A lack of public or thirdparty organizations in governance made our cyberspace development inadequate or even limited. So it's urgent to take on board the ideas of the internet think tanks.
A4 What I am most interested in is how China can make more contributions to cyberspace, or how the WIC in Wuzhen promotes an open and inclusive attitude. I'd like to see more Chinese ideas in the governance and hope to hear more voices from the Chinese internet industry. Of course, international cooperation is also a topic I keep an eye on.
A5 The cyberspace community, an idea put forward by President Xi Jinping, is a core concept for cyberspace development. Only when we are open and inclusive and accept each other, can we better administer cyberspace. After The internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers transferred its management rights, a new structure of cyberspace will be revealed. But we should know that better governance is not an easy thing and will face many challenges. That's why we are here, in Wuzhen, to listen to different voices and call for more efforts from all participants.
Shen Yi, deputy director of the Cyberspace Governance Study Center at Fudan University in Shanghai
A1 I participated in the drawing up and review of China's first Cybersecurity Law. It can be said that it is a guide for our country in cyberspace governance, but some online problems are still not solved in the document. Administering cyberspace needs the coordination of many governmental departments, but in the law, some duties or what role each department plays is still confused. Meanwhile, what we should do when our country is being attacked online is also unclear if we read the law. In other words, the law needs to be improved and I think we should give ourselves some time to see whether we can implement it.
A2 We should make clear why we open our judicial work. What we want finally is to provide better legal services for residents and improve our work efficiency. In this way, judicial transparency should be estimated by the quality of openness instead of how much content we disclose to the public. Technology or the internet, after all, is an assistant or platform for judicial work. For a litigant, an effective and quick solution for his dispute is what he wants to see.
A3 It's urgent to let our country's officials, especially high-ranking ones, better understand the internet, as their understanding relates a lot to cyberspace governance. In the past, many officials resisted the internet and had no idea about it, let alone use it to deal with governmental affairs. Now, a certain number of them have realized the importance of the internet, opening official websites or Weibo or Wechat accounts, which should be encouraged. But I have to say some of them still do not know the internet, or their understanding of the virtual world is still insufficient. Knowing the internet does not mean searching for some information online or clicking a mouse. Instead, it means taking the internet as a platform and using the open channels to connect residents and help them solve problems. Better cyberspace governance will rely on whether officials understand the internet.
A4 The greatest significance of the WIC is that it is the world's only conference focusing on cyberspace governance and it is hosted by a developing country. I care more about the voices, debates and different countries' experience in administering cyberspace at the conference, as well whether the communicative platform fully plays its role.
A5 It will be hard for the WIC to achieve some breakthrough developments, but it's a good stage to express our ideas on the cyberspace governance. I hope we can develop some long-term projects and see improvements every year at the conference. We should be patient with regard to the WIC.
Wang Sixin, law professor at the Communication University of China
A1 I have paid attention to checks on products and services in the nation's first Cybersecurity Law, and I have to say it is a necessity. In the past, we did not notice some foreign products or services had security risks that might affect our state security. But after some time, their influence had shown up and brought challenges for us in cyberspace governance. To safeguard the country and people's interests, checks should be implemented, as similar reviews are also carried out in the United States and the European Union.
A2 It's a complicated issue when we combine legal affairs with the internet. It is good to disclose our legal procedures and laws, but this does not mean everything in these legal documents should be open. For example, cases involving children are not suitable to be disclosed online. China's top court has been exploring judicial transparency, but I think its speed is too fast. Such transparency now has brought disputes, which is why I said we should think twice about disclosure, quickly making guidelines or introducing further openness through legislation.
A3 The urgent issue that should be resolved in cyberspace governance right now is to improve coordination between the Cyberspace Administration of China and other governmental departments. The more communication they have, the more effectively they will resolve online problems. Moreover, the country should make more efforts to educate people in cyberspace administrations. Now, the number of such talents is far from enough.
A4 I have followed all of the hot issues in cyberspace this year, such as how to regulate and supervise online live shows, how to improve the management of cross-border data and what achievements a new leading group of China's Cyberspace Administration will bring to us. I want to know their latest ideas in administering cyberspace, as well as what actions they will take to safeguard the cybersecurity.
A5 Many hot issues can be discussed in Wuzhen this year, as there are many online problems in the world, in China or in specific regions. I don't think the WIC must reach some consensuses or issue many documents on cyberspace governance. The greatest importance is that this platform not only expresses China's opinions on administering the internet, but also absorbs others' experiences.
Visitors try to pay for goods using facial recognition software during an online safety promotion week in Wuhan, Hubei province, in September. Payment apps are transforming China's retail sector and have raised people's awareness on cyber safety. [Photo/China Daily]
Police officers in Shenyang, Liaoning province, tell a trader how to help prevent cyber crime on Wi-Fi networks. The growing availability of public Wi-Fi networks creates more opportunities for criminals to steal information from people's mobile phones. [Photo/China Daily]