The criminal Chinese government has made a new law that they claim is to “encourage and support the research and application of the science and technology in cryptography.” The law takes effect on January 1st 2020 and here’s some of what’s coming to the slave population of China:
According to the provisions, the country encourages the research, academic exchanges, conversion of academic achievements and application of the technologies of commercial cryptography, but the scientific research, production, sales, service and import and export of it must not harm the state security and public interests or other people’s rights and interests.
Moreover, those who sell or provide commercial cryptography products and services that are not examined or authenticated or fail either procedure will also be warned, fined or have their illicit gains confiscated.
In true ‘1984’ newspeak and doublespeak style, the law is being sold to the sheeple as something positive, namely, to “encourage and support” cryptography when in fact it is actually introduced to regulate and restrict the use of cryptography, as we can see from the above quote.
Previously the criminal Chinese government legally had little to say about the use of cryptography (apart from strong-arming local companies to backdoor all of their products), but after this law takes effect, they can come in and use “harming the state security and public interests or other people’s rights and interests” as an excuse to interfere with and block the use of cryptography. These things are always subjective and open to anyone’s interpretation (just like “community standards” and “hate speech” used by social media companies to block and censor people who are politically incorrect), and ultimately the interpretation and will of the criminal Chinese government is, of course, going to be what gets enforced.
Furthermore, selling or providing cryptography products and services that are not approved by the criminal Chinese government can also get you in trouble as we see in the above quote. I won’t be surprised when the process of “examination or authentication” involves having to give the criminal Chinese government some kind of access or assurance of access to unencrypted data. In this way they can effectively block the use of truly strong cryptography especially when used to share information that they don’t approve of. As reported by Engadget:
The country’s existing cybersecurity laws are already set to punish the use of encryption deemed to threaten the state, but there once again appears to be an asterisk next to the encryption endorsement — you can’t design something that might challenge the regime.
As it is, the law may offer only superficial protection in light of existing rules. China regularly conducts mass surveillance on digital conversations, and can force companies to both store data locally as well as turn it over on request. It likewise has the power to shut down services or entire products in response to security incidents. There’s little to stop China from obtaining data that isn’t completely encrypted, and it can block or otherwise retaliate against those services that do shield info from prying eyes.
I always thought that working on something like QuantumGate would make me some kind of outlaw in the future and it seems like that future is coming much sooner than expected.