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August 26, 2016

Microsoft and Cisco join Chinese cyber security programme

News: Chinese government signals greater cooperation on cyber security standards.

By Alexander Sword

Cyber security tensions between China and the West may be thawing as US technology companies are invited to join the country’s technical committee.

Technical Committee 260 (TC260), which is in charge of the Chinese government’s cyber security standards, will now include Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and IBM as members, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The companies will now be taking a role in drafting rules rather than simply participating as observers.

The committee aims to decide whether China will use standards deviating from international norms.

The Wall Street Journal reported that this means defining what technologies are “secure and controllable”.

This includes looking at sectors such as cloud computing and big data.

The committee originally comprised 48 members but was expanded in January to 81 members.

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Including Western companies on the committee signals that China may be seeking greater cooperation with other countries.

The news comes after the Cyberspace Administration of China, which TC260 reports to, issued new guidelines urging stricter controls on cyber security but emphasising setting common standards.

The distrust has gone both ways. One of the world's largest telecommunications companies, Huawei, which is based in China, was banned from the United States networking equipment market due to alleged concerns that the company might undertake spying for the Chinese government.

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