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May 30, 2016

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Inadequate rules on Big Data spark call for action

WITH about 13 percent of all online data in the world originating in China, data experts are calling for more to be done to ensure data security.

Big Data, large volumes of data that can be analyzed to reveal patterns, was a hot topic at the “China Big Data Industry Summit & China E-commerce Innovation and Development Summit” in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province, with experts underscoring the need to improve data security.

“Big Data is a double-edged sword. It can be huge business, but also increases risks,” said Qi Xiangdong, president of Qihoo 360, China’s leading Internet security service provider.

“You can control your oven and washing machine remotely through your smartphone. However, if someone can gain access to your information on the cloud, they can, for example, make your washing machine operate at its maximum speed and temperature,” he said.

China has seen an explosive growth of data in recent years. Its information economy grossed over 18 trillion yuan (US$2.8 trillion) in 2015, with an e-commerce transaction volume totaling over 20 trillion yuan.

Lin Nianxiu, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said China’s Big Data industry will grow by 50 percent every year in the next five years. By 2020, China’s data volume will make up about 20 percent of the global total.

“China aims to lead in the data resource sector, and establish itself as a global data hub,” he said.

Industry observers warned that, currently, there is inadequate regulation and supervision on the collection, storage, management and use of data.

“For example, the law does not clearly define the value and property of data in some areas, which could allow data collectors to hide their true motives,” said Lu Wei, secretary-general of the Internet Society of China.

The central government understands the urgency of the matter, and has pledged to expedite legislation to improve data infrastructure, and address illegal activity online, including data abuse, infringement of privacy, fraud, and theft of confidential information, he said.


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