China says apps that influence public opinion need security review

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The National Internet Information Office of China has issued draft regulations on how mobile applications should operate. The rules say that application providers should not use their software to engage in activities that endanger national security or disrupt social order.

Qi Yang | Moments | Getty Images

China’s cyberspace regulator said on Wednesday that developers launching applications with the ability to influence public opinion should be subject to security reviews.

This move marks another step for Beijing to control and monitor information on China’s already highly censored Internet.

It is not yet clear which functions or technologies the regulator believes can influence public opinion.

The latest rules are part of a draft regulation released on Wednesday by the increasingly powerful China Cyberspace Administration (CAC), which aims to establish a framework for how application makers operate.

The rules say that application providers should not use their software to engage in activities that endanger national security or disrupt social order.

CAC said that any news information application must also obtain a license, which needs to be reviewed by regulatory agencies. China’s news structure has received extensive state support and has been highly censored.

In the past year, China has strengthened its supervision of the domestic technology industry in areas such as antitrust and network security.

The new Codex document merges the previous laws and regulations into a set of rules-although most of them are not new.

For example, application manufacturers must have strong data protection measures. China passed a landmark personal data protection law last year.

According to Wednesday’s draft rules, users must also register the application with a real identity. This has been happening in China for some time. In China, the real identity is associated with the national ID card and mobile phone number.

Cyberspace regulators stated that these rules are open to the public and will take effect this year, but did not give an exact date.


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