China says apps that could influence public opinion require a security review

APA

China’s cyberspace regulator said Wednesday that developers launching apps that have the ability to influence public opinion should undergo a security review, APA reports citing CNBC.

The move marks another step by Beijing to control and monitor information on China’s already highly censored internet.

It’s unclear what regulators consider as functions or technologies that could influence public opinion.

The latest rules are part of a draft regulation issued by the increasingly powerful Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Wednesday which seeks to lay out a framework for how app makers should operate.

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

Any news information apps must also obtain a license, which is subject to review by the regulators, the CAC said. China’s news landscape is broadly state-backed and already highly censored.

Over the past year, China has tightened regulation on its domestic technology sector in areas from antitrust to cybersecurity.

The CAC’s new document brings together previous laws and regulations into one set of rules — though much of it is not new.

For example, app makers must have strong data protection in place. China had already passed a landmark personal data protection law last year.

Users must also sign up to app using their real identity, according to Wednesday’s draft rules. This is something that has been happening for a while in China, where real identity is linked to state-issued ID cards and mobile phone numbers.

The cyberspace regulator said the rules are open to public comment and will come into force this year, but no exact date has been given.

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