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New China encryption rule could pose headaches for U.S. vendors
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 30 April 2010 17:10

From Computer World

Rule requires companies to share encryption codes with Chinese authorities
Vendors of some technology products will soon face a new hurdle when selling their products in China.

Starting Saturday, the Chinese government will require vendors in several product categories to disclose details of encryption technologies used in their products, in order for them to be able to sell to government agencies.

The new rules cover 13 technologies, including firewalls, routers, smartcards, database security tools, as well as anti-spam and network intrusion detection products. Under the new requirement, vendors who sell these products to government purchasers will need to first get them tested and certified by China's Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA), a process that involves their sharing encryption key codes.

The information security testing and certification requirement was first proposed in 2008 by China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). Initially, the rule was supposed to go into effect last May and applied to all sales of the covered products in China, not just those to government agencies. But following protests from the U.S. and the European Union, the implementation deadline was pushed back a year, and the requirement was narrowed to cover only sales to government agencies.

Officially, at least, the rule is not really about encryption, said Christopher Cloutier, an associate partner with law firm King & Spalding's intellectual property practice group. Rather, it is about certifying certain information security and technology products to China's Compulsory Certification System (CCC) mark, Cloutier said. The CCC mark is a quality certification standard that is applied to a wide number of products sold in China. The standard is overseen by the CNCA and AQSIQ.


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