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Data security risk is a common challenge to all countries
By CG Lin Jing, published on Cape Times, September 11

THE world today has entered a new era of digital economy. How to protect data security and balance national security, public interests and personal rights is a crucial task faced by all countries and mankind.

Solutions might be complex and even take a long time, but a fundamental precondition is clear that data security risk can only be managed through global co-operation and extensive consultation, instead of monopoly.

The US owns almost all dominant internet companies in the world, but unfortunately, it is also the biggest cyberthief in this world.

Leaked documents of PRISM showed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) sees apps as "data mines" with huge reserves of data and thus invests heavily to this end.

Under the agency's pressure, apps like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Google Maps and even Angry Birds were forced to co-operate with it.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation also revealed the NSA and intelligence authorities of other Five Eyes countries initiated Project Irritant Horn, which hijacks Play Store to implant spyware on target smartphones or crack down on loopholes.

With this program, the Five Eyes managed to steal massive amounts of data.

Moreover, the NSA has been using fake base stations named Dirtbox in its wire-tapping programs since more than a decade ago.

Through Dirtbox, they simulate signals of base stations to tap into and steal data from cellphones. As Le Monde reported, through Dirtbox, 62.5 million phone data were collected by the US in France.

More similar cases can be listed, like the US spying programs such as Equation Group and Echelon and so on. The reason behind this is clear, that data-monopoly is crucial to maintain the US hegemony in the new era which, however, is built on the exploitation of the privacy and interests of other countries and people.

It is not difficult to understand that why Huawei, a global 5G leader, and TikTok, a world-popular social media app for young people to share videos, are threatened to be banned in the US.

It is just because these companies are from China and out of control by the US, and are identified as moving American cheese of the cyber empire, although no evidence has ever presented showing security threats or backdoors in these two companies.

A world without the internet is unimaginable. All countries, although varied in national conditions, development stage of internet and challenges, hold the same desire for promoting digital economy, the same interests in tackling cybersecurity challenges and the same expectations for strengthened cyberspace governance.

Against this backdrop, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi put forward China's Global Initiative on

Data Security, calling on all countries to join hands to safeguard the future of the digital economy, discuss ways to manage data security risks and promote global governance in the digital domain.

China's initiative on global data security advocates that the cyber risks and challenges should be effectively addressed through upholding multilateralism, balancing security and development and ensuring fairness and justice. The acts of bullying that abuse security as a pretext to oppress enterprises of other countries must be opposed. Data security, like the Covid19 pandemic, is a common challenge for all countries. What human society needs is solidarity and co-operation, rather than hegemony and bullying.

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