The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is cracking down on app developers and app store providers, with a stipulation they must now monitor and report content that has been banned in the country, according to media reports.
App providers need to fulfill certain requirements to tackle issues like fraud and pornography. For instance, they will need to establish the identities of their users and keep a record of their activities.
To protect consumer privacy, app stores must also acquire user consent in order to collect personal data such as location.
“A small number of apps have been exploited by criminal types to spread violence and terrorism, pornographic material, rumours and other illegal information,” the regulator said.
According to Bloomberg, “The regulations mark one of the most comprehensive efforts so far to oversee mobile applications”, of which there are 4 million in China, and the move is part of President Xi Jinping’s strategy to crack down on material considered sensitive.
Xi had set up CAC two years ago to regulate the country’s internet.
The report quoted Willy Lam, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Center for China Studies, as saying that these regulations “have been in the pipeline for some time and it’s an exacerbation of the existing controls. This is in the wake of an increase in the number of communications, which are seen as critical of the regime.”
The regulations will impact Apple and the platforms operated by local smartphone makers. Google’s Play Store isn’t available in China.