China vows to regulate mobile apps

Officials from China's National Internet Information Office said the department will initiate specific plans to regulate the fast development of mobile applications in the country.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

Peng Bo, deputy director of the National Internet Information Office (NIIO), said on Sunday that the department will soon launch specific norms to supervise mobile applications in China, according to a NetEase news report on Monday.

He stated that a lack of supervision on apps has left loopholes in the country's internet environment, and that regulating the internet under laws would play a fundamental role during the progress of the country's strive for the rule of law.

Security issues on apps are under a spotlight in China these days, the government official believes. Despite smart devices thriving in China and a booming app industry, this also comes along with a variety of side effects, including malware and information-stealing issues.

In earlier reports, NIIO's director Lu Wei has vowed to regulate the online world through the "strengthening of internet-related legislation". The State Council has authorised the NIIO to regulate online content alongside internet-related law enforcement, said the NetEase report.

Zhu Wei, an associate professor from China University of Political Science, said in the NetEase report that NIIO's plan to regulate apps is "very necessary and timely", as "many apps these days steal users' personal information and has violated their information rights".

Some app developers are ignorant of copyright by simply duplicating information from other sources, some even steal users' information through the apps and resell it for profits, and many apps can be turned on in the background automatically, depleting data traffic and conceivably monitoring other software, according to Zhu.

In August, the country placed restrictions for the first time on instant-messaging services by forcing real-name registrations on public accounts of instant messaging tools, including the popular WeChat. Those who wish to publish or reprint political news will need to seek prior approval from relative authorities, according to the stipulations.

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