A pledge of compliance issued by the Chinese government to major tech firms operating in the country has led to fears that user data and intellectual property will be at risk from a PRISM-like data intelligence system.
The pledge, which was sent out by the China Information Technology Security Evaluation Centre, said that the aim is to compel firms operating in China to "strictly adhere" to key principles including "not harming national security and not harming consumer rights".
The document, published by The New York Times, outlines the main terms of compliance.
It states that companies should release timely patches on discovery of security vulnerabilities and tell users what personal data is being collected, but it also asks tech firms to ensure that products are "secure and controllable".
It is the term "controllable" that has led to fears that tech companies signing the pledge will be forced to install back-doors in their products in exchange for the right to trade in the much sought after Chinese market.
Companies operating in China will have to "employ effective measures to guarantee that any user information collected isn't illegally altered, leaked or used".
Furthermore, it requires tech firms to not "transfer, store or process any sensitive user information collected in the China market outside China's borders without express permission".
The news comes after the announcement of a technology conference in Seattle organised by Chinese minister Lu Wei, director of the Central Leading Group for Internet Security, which will bring together US firms including Facebook, Apple, IBM and Uber.
The conference will coincide with the first US state visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping, and comes amid rising tensions between the US and China over cyber espionage and online attacks in what US president Barack Obama has called "a core national security threat".
The US government and Microsoft recently clashed in court over whether Microsoft should have to hand over data stored on its servers overseas.
"If the government prevails here, the US will have no ground to complain when foreign agents - be they friend or foe - raid Microsoft offices in their jurisdictions and order them to download US citizens' private emails from computers located in this country. That would put all of our private digital information at risk," said Microsoft in a court brief.
Meanwhile, a recent report by US director of national intelligence James Clapper for the US Select Committee on Intelligence found that China, Russia, North Korea and Iran remain the nations most likely to be developing advanced cyber attack capabilities.
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