China’s Ministry of Public Security has appointed a big data expert to lead its cybersecurity force, and one of his priorities will be overseeing the coming roll-out of a new regulatory regime. Wang Yingwei was identified as the new director of the Cybersecurity Bureau in an interview with the ministry’s official newspaper, China Police Daily , published on Sunday. He was previously the Communist Party secretary of the bureau. In the new job, Wang reports to Lin Rui , a vice-minister of public security and the bureau’s former chief, who also has a strong background in information technology and cybersecurity , according to a source familiar with the matter who declined to be named. Wang studied computing and has a PhD in applied mathematics from Peking University. According to another source, Wang studied at Peking under Shi Qingyun, a professor who specialises in pattern recognition and image databases. Algorithms developed by Shi have become key to automatic fingerprint identification system research in China – technology that is widely used by its police, banks and other businesses. “Wang was among one of Shi’s most promising students,” said the second source, who requested anonymity. After focusing on the fingerprint identification system and image data compression at university, Wang joined the ministry’s research institute in Beijing. He was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Bureau in 2000, spending a decade there developing and promoting new forensic technology, especially for fingerprinting and other identification methods. China discourages its top hackers from sharing exploits with the rest of the world He was sent to Guizhou province – one of China’s poorest regions – in 2010, where he worked for the Public Security Bureau. Two years on, he was made deputy police chief. Beijing announced that the southern province would be turned into the country’s big data hub in 2014, and Wang was put in charge of cybersecurity as the development drive got under way. He elaborated on how police in the province were using big data technology for surveillance in 2016, in an interview with China’s Police Technology magazine. “In 2015, 761,938 key personnel were being monitored through our big data platform,” Wang told the magazine. “The system generates an average of 400,000 early warning messages every month.” While official records do not show when Wang left Guizhou, he was transferred back to Beijing last year and began to appear in public as the bureau’s party secretary in January. He attended a conference in May in Beijing, where he discussed the launch of an upgraded cybersecurity protection scheme, according to a Southern Metropolis News report. How stolen Apple IDs allow hackers to steal money in Alipay and WeChat The scheme, which is to be introduced on December 1, ranks the networks and systems that make up China’s critical information infrastructure based on national security. Level five is deemed the most sensitive, and anything at level three or higher will have to meet a number of regulatory requirements. Guo Qiquan, chief engineer at the Cybersecurity Bureau, told state news agency Xinhua that the main goal of the scheme was “full coverage”. “It will cover every district, every ministry, every business and other institution, basically covering the whole society,” he was quoted as saying. “It will also cover all targets that need [cybersecurity] protection, including all networks, information systems, cloud platforms, the internet of things, control systems, big data and mobile internet.” The Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies raised concerns over the scheme’s wide remit and potential impact on foreign companies operating in China, in comments on an earlier draft last year. In a report, the centre said industries such as manufacturing and retail would now be included in the cyberspace protection scheme “because it covers the vague category called ‘network operators’, which can include anyone who uses an ICT [information and communications technology] system”. “[The scheme] also appears to have a focus on cloud computing, mobile internet and big data,” it said.