Analyzing the Five-Year Plan for Internet Development

Last month, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released a five-year-plan for Internet development. Rogier Creemers of China Copyright and Media blog has translated the document in full. Creemers has now also posted his analysis of the document:

The most important aspect of this document, however, seems to be security. Obviously, data leaks, phishing, privacy protection and viruses are real threats against the further development of Internet industries. At the same time, the Chinese government itself is often accused as being behind cyberattacks and online intelligence, something of which the US military, amongst others, seems very suspicious. Increased transparency and clarity about China’s objectives would be very useful in this regard. Also, security seems to refer to censorship. The plan calls for enhancing “emergency response systems” to deal with “sudden incidents” and strengthening institutional and legal frameworks to further strengthen Internet supervision and management. This continues the trend of recent years, where new national and provincial-level Internet offices were established. Furthermore, the trend of co-opting Internet enterprises into self-discipline seems to be strengthened.

Obviously, plans like these are general guidelines, and the interesting question remains how these objectives will be transposed into concrete policy and regulatory measures, especially in an environment changing as quickly as the Internet.

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