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Courts have stepped up to foster safe environment in cyberspace

China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-10


China has continued to strengthen legal protections for netizens to create a better internet environment and ensure their information is secure.

Information technology, as represented by the internet, has created a large space for people's lives, expanded the scope of national governance and elevated the development of China's rule of law in cyberspace to a new stage, said Yang Linping, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court.

The emergence of new technologies, applications and models also pose greater demands on-and challenges for-those charged with maintaining order in cyberspace and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of all parties, she said.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China's Cabinet, jointly issued a guideline calling for strengthening the development of internet civilization in September this year, saying that one of the aims is to improve the effectiveness of cyberspace governance, improve cyberspace environment, further promote the rule of law in cyberspace and continuously improve the capability of combating and preventing cybercrimes.

The document asked relevant departments to govern cyberspace in accordance with the law, allowing laws and regulations to play a guaranteed role in maintaining order online and fostering civilized behavior.

It also urged authorities to enhance the enforcement of existing laws, accelerate the formulation, revision and implementation of related laws and regulations, and enhance the public's legal awareness and rule of law literacy by publicizing activities such as courses.

"The people's courts have cooperated with all relevant departments to form overall plans and make continuous reforms while exploring avenues to strengthen cyberspace protection and promote law-based governance of the internet," Yang said.

To meet the increasing judicial demands, three internet courts were established in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in 2017 and in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and Beijing in 2018.

The internet courts have taken the lead in online trial operations, promoting the innovative application of new technology in the judicial field and opening up a new path for internet judicial development, she said.

The construction of smart courts has also been accelerated. Furthermore, the modernization of the judicial system has been promoted through the use of information technology, and the dispute resolution and litigation service model with Chinese characteristics has been consolidated and expanded, effectively meeting judicial needs, especially amid the COVID-19 epidemic, Yang said.

With the advent of networking, digitalization and the intelligent era, strengthening personal information protection has become part of the social conscience, said Sun Qian, deputy chief prosecutor of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

"Yet, we can see that the phenomenon of excessive collection of personal information, compulsory authorization on websites and the embellished product claims are still prominent. Activities such as illegally collecting and using other people's biometric information and crimes targeting personal data security occur at a high frequency, posing serious threats to personal information security," Sun said.

In addition, personal information protection has gone beyond the scope of private rights protection and is more related to national security and public interests. The battle against the collection and processing of personal data in the international community is becoming more complex and fierce, he said.