China’s Internet regulators have announced their intention to require companies to obtain prior government approval to transfer important data out of the country.
According to experts, the rules announced by the Chinese Cyberspace Administration will tighten Beijing’s control over information and may disrupt the operations of international companies.
Beijing has justified its move by saying that the measure is necessary to “protect national security” of China.
The government of Chinese President Xi Jinping sees information about 1.4 billion people in the country “as a potential security risk in the hands of the private sector.”
A new data security law, which took effect on Sept. 1, bans companies from transferring “essential country data” abroad without approval from Chinese regulators.
The law imposes a fine of up to ten million yuan ($1.6 million) on violators, in addition to canceling their operating licenses.
China’s market regulator recently accused hundreds of apps of illegally collecting personal data, including apps owned by big tech companies such as Tencent, ByteDance and Baidu, but without taking any measures to block or block them so far.
China’s market regulator had earlier announced that it would block a plan by Chinese internet and games company Tencent Holdings from merging the country’s two largest video game streaming sites, Huya and DouYu; The pretext of non-compliance of the process with anti-monopoly laws.