China has long been known for its strict censorship which makes it difficult for foreign technology companies to do business in the world’s most populous country of over 1.35 billion people.
Now, the new law issued by the Chinese government will expand its strict Internet monitoring efforts into mobile apps, targeting operators including Apple. However, Google currently doesn’t operate its app store in China.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has imposed new regulation on distributors of mobile apps that requires both app stores and app developers keep a close eye on users and maintain a record of their activities for at least 60 days.
The Chinese internet regulator has introduced the new legislation with the intent to fight issues like terrorism, pornography, violence, money fraud and distribution of malicious contents.
However, this new move by the Chinese government will tighten its control over the Internet, especially the mobile apps used for private encrypted communications.
App stores and developers, both domestic as well as foreign, will now have to verify their users’ identities with real-name registration and must keep their activity logs for at least 60 days.
The proposed legislation, which will come into effect on August 1, also requires developers closely monitor their users to help identify individuals who distribute banned content.
However, the law would also prevent mobile apps from requesting unnecessary app permission to access user’s camera, microphone, contacts and other fake installation requests.
Conditions for App Providers When Operating in China
Here’s the list of criteria that the app stores and developers must meet when operating in China:App providers must verify users’ identities by requiring their mobile numbers or other information.
Providers should protect their users’ information and cannot use the information without their consent.
Providers should improve censorship and punish anyone releasing illegal information through warnings, shutting down accounts or suspension of service.
Providers are forbidden from collecting user’s location data and reading their contacts stealthily.
Providers are also banned from pirating their rivals’ products.
Providers must record user logs and keep the information for at least 60 days.
"The regulation was enacted after substantial field research and soliciting public opinions… and is also aimed at regulating app services and promoting the industry’s healthy development," the CAC said in a statement.
The draft regulation has already been submitted to China’s top legislature.
More than 610 Million people in China are using the Internet on their mobile phone at the end of 2015, and China-based app stores host over 4 Million apps, which is growing at an exponential rate.
So, if passed, the law will threaten the privacy of hundreds of Millions of Internet users in China and will increase the Chinese government’s control over the Web.