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SupChina’s Jeremy Goldkorn on Data Privacy Laws and Political Control in China

SupChina’s Jeremy Goldkorn on Data Privacy Laws and Political Control in China

Oct 25, 2021

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"Some of the privacy and data laws that the Chinese government has passed are one part of what we call the 'Red New Deal,'" said Jeremy Goldkorn, editor-in-chief of SupChina, a China-focused news outlet based in New York. He was speaking to Orchid's Derek Silva on this week's episode of the Priv8 Podcast.

According to Jeremy, the "Red New Deal" describes the passage of many new laws focused on regulating the country's technology industries.

"It may be a little too early to say what the direct effects of these laws will be for ordinary consumers. But a lot of ordinary Chinese people are not unhappy with the changes--they may even be quite happy with the direction of some of these 'crackdowns.'"

Jeremy explained that some recent legislative changes are part of an effort to curb the power of private companies. "There is very much a feeling that certain large tech companies--particularly Alibaba and Tencent--are too powerful, and that they're abusing their power to profit off consumers." Together, these companies currently control "mobile payment networks in China, as well as social networks, eCommerce. and all kinds of things."

"So in theory, many of the new rules will protect consumers' privacy. A lot of consumers are certainly going to be happy to see power being taken away from internet companies."

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But according to Jeremy, the laws serve another purpose. "A big part of the government's plan with these regulations is to make sure that everyone understands that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the leader of the country.

"The CCP wants to make sure that these companies don't have too much political power--that they aren't the ones deciding which data should be considered 'sensitive.' The Party wants to be the one making those choices.

"In the process, the CCP is going to gather as much data as it can. And there may be genuinely good intentions behind its actions. But even if there are good intentions behind many of the Party's new rules, they will all be accompanied by a reassertion of its dominance over economic, social, and political life.

"We'll have to see what it looks like in practice," he said.

You can listen to Derek's entire conversation with Jeremy here. And don't forget to subscribe to Priv8 on your favorite streaming service.

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