China's Cyberspace Administration has cracked down on mobile browsers for spreading clickbait and misinformation.
Chinese regulators on Tuesday rolled out the first round of guidelines aimed at curbing game addiction among users under 18, state media Xinhua reported.Why it matters: Chinese regulators and lawmakers have made the prevention of game and internet addiction a major priority in recent months.While attempts to limit underage users from excessive online activities has been ongoing for years, previous efforts from regulators were generally vague “notices” which included no detailed standards.Industry giants Tencent and NetEase launched their own anti-addiction systems several years ago and have been adding more monitoring and parental control features.Details: The General Administration of Press and Publication announced on Tuesday new guidelines which, among others, prohibit gaming companies from providing game services to users under 18 between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.Underage users are allowed to play for up to three hours per day during legal holidays such as Spring Festival but are otherwise limited to 1.5 hours of playtime per day.
China, notorious for its lack of privacy, approved a new law to regulate cryptography over the weekend as it readies to launch its own digital currency.The law will come into effect on January 1, 2020, and although officials haven’t gone into too much detail about it, reports say that permissions granted could vary depending on whether individuals work for the ruling party or not.“The enactment of the law was necessary for regulating the utilization and management of cryptography, facilitating the development of the cryptography business, and ensuring the security of cyberspace and information,” said state news agency Xinhua citing the country’s parliament.The new digital currency would bear some similarities with Facebook’s Libra, and would be transactable across payment platforms such as WeChat and AliPay — even without an internet connection — a senior central bank official said in September.The government is seeking to transform the east Asian nation into a high-tech manufacturing hub in hopes of first catching up with, and then surpassing, the West.The country’s intentions to roll out its own digital currency fall in line with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s warning to Congress last week during his testimony about Libra, when he noted that the US was at risk of falling behind given China‘s plans.
China’s lawmakers filed on Monday a draft amendment to a law protecting minors, including for the first time a section on cyberspace measures, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.Why it matters: The law, which been unchanged for seven years, is the country’s dedicated law for the protection of minors under the age of 18.A revision of the law to include cyberspace protections will potentially provide a legal basis for the country’s efforts to crack down on misuse of personal data and cyberbullying.The State Council, China’s cabinet, in January 2017 released a set of draft regulations to protect minors in cyberspace, but the regulations haven’t yet come into effect, which experts attributed to a lack of support from legislation.Until the amendment comes into effect, there is no specific legislation forbidding the collection of personal online data from minors.Details: The draft revision of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Minors was submitted to the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislative body, for review on Monday.
Short video app Kuaishou on Wednesday banned 39 popular content creators for hyping their videos, continuing a platform-wide cleanup that started earlier this month.Why it matters: As regulators continue to scrutinize all kinds of platforms for inappropriate content, short video apps are imposing stricter self-regulation to avoid costly suspensions or an altogether ban.Kuaishou was censured by the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) for lowbrow content in April 2018.The company was ordered to pause all new uploads to the platform until all content on the platform was filtered.Details: This round of cleanups brings the number of popular influencers suspended from the platform to over 100.All of the offending content creators have followings numbering in the several hundreds of thousands; one banned user with the handle “Xiaojianing” has more than 2 million followers.
China’s internet regulator has instructed online platform operators ensure that their content recommendation algorithms create a “healthy” and “positive” online environment, according to draft rules released on Tuesday.Why it matters: The Chinese government has taken an increasingly heavy hand when dealing with online content.Beijing has accelerated efforts to rid the internet of “inappropriate content.” Few of the country’s tech companies have managed to avoid censure during the campaign.“Online platforms should strengthen management of information recommendation or presentation by methods including manual editing or machine algorithms to create a positive and healthy ecosystem.”–Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC)Details: The CAC’s draft regulations cover a wide range of online platforms from websites to apps and online forums.
The Chinese government is expanding its social credit blacklists to online platforms and their users, aiming to punish “untrustworthy conduct” on the internet, according to draft regulations published this week by the country’s internet regulator.Why it matters: The draft not only focuses on platforms but also individuals, potentially enabling the government to more effectively crack down on online conduct and impose restrictions on an individual’s internet activity.The move forms part of a broader push to deploy punishments across government departments as a means to enforce existing laws.“It generally follows the pattern of other blacklists by enforcing laws rather than creating new obligations, but subject area is broader and involves more individual conduct than others mainly concerned with corporate conduct.”—Jeremy Daum, senior fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School, who has translated many of China’s social credit documents, wrote on TwitterDetails: The draft regulation was published by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Monday and is open for public comment until August 21.
China has released a new guideline that aims to ensure the safety of using cloud services, specifically for users of the Party and government bodies, requiring cloud service operators to submit their platforms for a government assessment.Why it matters: The move comes as the country sees growing cloud computing adoption in both private and public sectors.Regulators aim to drive adoption by lowering security risks associated with the technology, to encourage the migration of government affairs and data to cloud platforms.Details: The guideline announced Monday was jointly issued by the China’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) along with the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), and Ministry of Finance.As part of the new guideline, the CAC will conduct a “safety assessment” on cloud services platforms.Platforms will be required to submit background information regarding their operations and their staff for screening purposes.
Content with even a hint of sexual suggestion is not long for the internet in China—even ASMR videos have been wiped from the nation’s video streaming services.And on Friday, over two dozen audio apps were censored by China’s central internet regulator.The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced in a notice last week that 26 apps were either terminated, suspended, or ordered to better regulate themselves after an investigation found they were spreading “historical nihilism” and “obscene pornography” as well as swearing.The CAC characterised the audio industry broadly as “chaotic” and claimed that there wasn’t appropriate oversight of these channels, which allowed minors to access their content as well as used “algorithmic technology” to push content to listeners that the agency deems as inappropriate.The CAC detailed a number of ways in which these audio platforms violated their standards, including but not limited to content involving illegal transactions, porn, information on prostitution, zombies, “fairy ghosts”, “subculture”, and “colour gods”.The notice stated that this type of information being disseminated across audio platforms in the nation can “have a bad influence on the healthy growth of young people,” among other concerns.
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories.If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.Facebook civil rights audit says white supremacy policy is ‘too narrow’Over the last six months, Facebook has made changes around enforcing rules against hate speech, fighting discrimination in ads and protecting against misinformation and suppression, according to a new progress report on an audit led by former ACLU Washington Director Laura Murphy.However, the report says Facebook’s policy is still “too narrow.” That’s because it solely prohibits explicit praise, support or representation of the terms “white nationalism” or “white separatism,” but does not technically prohibit references to those terms and ideologies.The private rocket launch startup’s latest mission took off yesterday from the company’s private Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.
In 2018, online listeners in the country grew 22.1% to surpass 400 million, at a rate far exceeding that of the mobile video and e-reading populations, according to market researcher iiMedia.But the fledgling sector is taking a hit.On Friday, a total of 26 audio-focused apps were ordered to terminate, suspend services, or have talks with regulators as they were investigated and deemed to have spread “historical nihilism” and “pornography,” according to a notice posted by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).Last month, Apple restricted Chinese users from accessing podcasts that aren’t hosted by its local partners, effectively preventing those with a Chinese Apple account from consuming content unchecked by Chinese censors.As short-form videos took off in 2018, the government issued similar directives demanding Douyin (TikTok for China), Kuaishou and many others to purge “illicit” content.The year before, a raft of live streaming apps were in the crosshairs.
China’s internet censor shuts financial news aggregator wallstreetcn.com amid worsening US relations over trade and tech – South China Morning PostWhat happened: China’s internet censors have shut down Wallstreetcn.com, one of China’s most popular news aggregating apps dedicated to financial news, over unspecified breaches of cybersecurity laws.A photograph of the government order circulated online shows that the order was stamped by the Cyberspace Administration of China.It neither revealed why the app was shut down, nor whether the suspension was permanent.The app confirmed the shutdown and said it was working to resolve issues.Why it’s important: Wallstreetcn.com has faced regulatory trouble before.
However, many in China’s tech scene are still scratching their heads.The Cybersecurity Law, which went into effect on June 1, 2017, is broader than comparable privacy-focused measures such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).The purpose is to govern the whole internet space,” Keith Yuen, Greater China Advisory Cybersecurity Leader at Ernst & Young (EY), told TechNode.In the past two years, the law has made real-name identity verification a standard across Chinese internet services, brought Chinese companies closer to the global best practices of network security and data management, established a personal data regime, reformed content moderation policies, and enforced data localization policies that Beijing believes will support national security.“If you fail to do something or you violate the law very seriously, they can shut down your business, take away your license, blacklist you, and also maybe stop you from registering another business,” Yuen said.In September 2017, the Cyberspace Administration of China fined Baidu and Tencent for failing to manage pornographic and violent content on their platforms, as well as content that authorities deemed as promoting “ethnic hatred.”
CNN’s website is currently blocked in mainland China, after it published a story about today’s 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre as one of its top headlines.The site is usually accessible in China, according to historical data from GreatFire.org.Matt Rivers, a Beijing-based reporter, noted the blocking of the site on Twitter, writing that “the government here is near obsessive about limiting conversation on this topic.It appears the Chinese government has begun to block @CNN’s website in mainland China.Our top story sright now is about the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.The government here is near obsessive about limiting conversation on this topic pic.twitter.com/Hjatdko3Gx
The draft guidelines by the National Information Security Standardization Technical Committee (TC260)—which is jointly administered by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) and the Standardization Administration of China—outlined seven situations that constitute the illegal collection and use of personal data.These included the collection and use of users’ personal information or the provision of personal information to third parties without the consent of the user.Once finalized, they will be used by China’s cyberspace watchdogs, including the CAC, the State Administration for Market Regulation, and the Ministry of Public Security, to enact privacy laws.A commentary (in Chinese) published Tuesday by state-run news agency Xinhua said the guidelines were “the world’s first legislative attempt” to categorize illegal behavior against app users’ personal data.“The big data economy based on personal information has begun to come in conflict with the old legal system … the protection of personal data is critical to safeguard cybersecurity and internet users’ legal rights,” the commentary from Xinhua said.A special administration working group dedicated to apps (in Chinese) was set up by the TC260 and the Internet Society of China, a non-governmental organization supported by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, in January to promote closer evaluation of illegal collection and use of personal data by mobile apps.
What happened: China’s internet watchdog will require all major short video platforms in China to roll out “anti-addiction” parental controls by the end of May.The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has been testing the system on popular short video apps such as Bytedance’s Douyin, Huoshan Short Video, and Tencent-backed Kuaishou.The system allows parents to turn on a “youth mode” feature that restricts minors to 40 minutes of use per day and disables gift-giving or account top-up activity.Why it’s important: Chinese regulators are becoming increasingly vigilant about the amount of screen time minors are exposed to, a topic that is bearing increasing scrutiny across the globe.A recent New York Times article correlating poverty with higher screen time echoes realities in China.State media (in Chinese) said last year that “left-behind children,” or those who stay behind in rural areas while their parents work in big cities, were especially obsessed with online entertainment.
国家网信办持续推进APP乱象专项整治 关停清理违法APP3万余个 – Cyberspace Administration of ChinaWhat happened: China’s cyberspace watchdog has shut down over 33,600 apps in a recent government crackdown that began in December.More than 2.3 million websites were taken down and an excess of 24.7 million pieces of information deemed lowbrow were deleted from social media platforms.The crackdown targeted gaming and education apps for content including gambling and indecent images as well as virus and spyware programs, said the national cyberspace administration.Why it’s important: Beijing is ramping up efforts to “clean up” Chinese cyberspace, aiming to quash the misuse of information technologies for enabling gaming addictions, online pornography, and privacy infringement.So far, regulators have warned major cloud service providers, app stores, and social media platforms including WeChat, Weibo and Baidu’s online forum Tieba as part of broader “wipe-out” efforts.
首批境内区块链服务项目公布 BATJ及多家机构入列 – Xinhua NetWhat happened: The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released the list of blockchain information services that have successfully registered with the filing management system.The list includes a total of 197 blockchain projects, including big-name internet and financial service providers Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, JD.com, Luxfax, and Ping An.Registering with the system does not mean a company’s products or services are approved for commercial purposes, said the CAC, and it will continue to closely monitor the registered projects.Why it’s important: The CAC released draft regulations for blockchain-based services in October, which require companies to implement real-name registration, maintain correspondence with authorities, and provide relevant information as requested.The CAC expects the regulation to promote “orderly development” of the emerging technology.
A Chinese dating app for lesbian and queer women exposed the profiles and private data of over 5.3 million users, TechCrunch reported on Wednesday, possibly since June 2018.The app, Rela, reportedly vanished from app stores in 2017, with Reuters noting similar apps had been taken down by the Cyberspace Administration of China in the past.However, it returned a year later.According to TechCrunch, security researcher Victor Gevers recently found that extensive personal information on millions of users was exposed on a server that lacked a password, including “nicknames, dates of birth, height and weight, ethnicity, and sexual preferences and interests.” That server also left over 20 million status updates exposed, Gevers told TechCrunch.China decriminalised “hooliganism,” which the Atlantic reported was “widely assumed to include homosexuality, though the law was never explicit on this point” in 1997.In 2001, the Chinese Psychiatric Association deemed that same-sex attraction is not a mental illness.