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China forces app stores to monitor users for 60 days

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China hasn’t met a regulation that it hasn’t liked, and now it’s leveling yet another one on Apple. As the notoriously controlling Chinese government continues to tighten its grip around the digital goings-on around the nation, it’s now released a new set of regulations that could affect more than half a billion Chinese smartphone users.

As per the new rules posted on the Cyberspace Administration of China’s (CAC) website, all app stores and providers must keep a record of users’ activity for no less than 60 days, and further, must identify all users for purposes of monitoring and reporting posts that may contain banned content.

As smartphones grow increasingly ubiquitous in the Asian nation, so too have their accompanying apps. And as Bloomberg notes, these new guidelines represent among the most far-reaching efforts thus far to control mobile applications at large.

“The regulations have been in the pipeline for some time and it’s an exacerbation of the existing controls,” Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Center for China Studies, told Bloomberg. “This is in the wake of an increase in the number of communications, which are seen as critical of the regime.”

Not only will Apple be affected by the rules, but so too will the dozen or so other platforms from which users can currently download apps. Apple has made no comment about the newest restrictions.

Particularly notable is the fact that these regulations not only affect app stores, but developers and app operators as well. But like many other Chinese rules in cyberspace, it’s somewhat unclear as to how they will be enforced, especially given the relatively vague language.

“The regulation was enacted after substantial field research and soliciting public opinions … and is aimed at regulating app services and promoting the industry’s healthy development,” the CAC said in a statement.

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