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China’s cyber regulator now targeting mobile apps

The cyber regulator announced a new set of draft on the matter, just one day after announcing rules regarding cybersecurity clearances before IPOs and new algorithm review measures

Oriental Image via Reuters Connect
Oriental Image via Reuters Connect

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s cyber regulatory body, presented on Wednesday a new set of draft rules intended to govern usage of mobile apps, which emphasize potential public opinion influence and national security.

The proposals will require application providers to carry out a security assessment before launching "new technologies, new applications, and new functions" capable of influencing opinion or mobilising the public, Reuters reports. The regulator added that mobile app providers must not conduct activities that endanger national security.

The draft did not single out any specific apps or outline the security assessment process – except a mentioning that mobile app providers must not use their software to conduct activities that endanger national security or threaten social order.

Reuters reports that the proposed ruled would apply to "text, picture, voice, video and other information production", as well as instant messaging, news dissemination, forum communities, livestreaming, and e-commerce. Also, news apps must obtain licenses granting publishing permission.

These draft regulations are the latest in a series of rules issued by the very powerful cyber regulator, aimed at curbing the power of tech companies and further monitoring information in an already highly regulated, censored.

These new draft rules come on the heels of yesterday’s CAC announcement regarding additional relevant rules being put into force. As of February 15th, 2022. companies with data on more than 1 million users will need to undergo a security review before foreign IPOs, and the regulator will examine whether their activities affect (or might affect) national security.

Another set of rules announced yesterday, that will come into effect on March 1st, deal with how tech companies use algorithm recommendations and require them to establish reviews and protections.

China’s Data Security Law, which came into force on September 1stof this year, sets standards for all Chinese companies on the classification, storage and transmission of data. It was joined two months later by the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), which regulates the protection of personal information.

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