China is drafting rules for security screening of apps that influence public opinion

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China’s cyber regulator on Wednesday issued draft rules for mobile apps, including a requirement for security reviews of apps the functions of which could affect public opinion.

The proposed regulations are part of a campaign by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) last year to improve oversight of the country’s tech companies.

The public was invited to provide feedback on the draft rules by January 20.

The proposals require application vendors to conduct a security assessment before launching “new technologies, new applications and new features” that can influence opinion or mobilize the public.

The CAC did not specify any specific apps or describe the security assessment process other than that it should be carried out in accordance with national regulations.

The proposed rules would apply to “text, image, voice, video and other information production” as well as instant messaging, news distribution, forum communities, live streaming and e-commerce, the regulator said.

The regulator added that mobile app providers are not allowed to engage in activities that endanger national security or force users to disclose non-essential personal information.

News apps need to purchase licenses that give permission to post news, it said.

Over the past year, the Chinese authorities tightened regulations in a number of industries, from gambling to real estate to education.

The CAC has led a number of initiatives targeting the country’s technology sector.

On Tuesday, the CAC announced that it would introduce two new rules. One rule requires platform companies with over 1 million users to go through security assessments before being listed overseas, which would go into effect in February. The other rule governs the use of recommendation algorithms by companies, which would go into effect in March.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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