China's Digital Wall gets a fresh coat of oppressive rules
As the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party comes closer, China ups its Internet norms further. The country is infamous for monitoring its Internet and having an iron-clad digital wall. Now, its cyber regulator has levied severe penalties on the country's top tech giants, including Tencent Holdings, Baidu Inc., and Weibo Corp, for non-adherence and failure to censor online content. Here's more.
According to the notices issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the guilty firms will face "maximum penalty" for not doing their due diligence in removing fake news, pornography and content that "incites ethnic tension" and "threatens social order". This will be the first instance of CAC levying maximum fines since the introduction of new Internet laws in June.
CAC said, "The internet does not operate outside of the law... the CAC will seriously implement the new cybersecurity law and other regulations to increase territorial supervision and enforcement efforts regarding the internet." The exact penalty is not known. However, according to rules cited in CAC notice, those in charge of the platforms or directly involved will probably get penalized 100,000 yuan ($15,110) each.
As per Internet laws, platforms, that violate rules, risk getting their licenses canceled or services suspended. The country has also introduced some new norms this month. Now, China's messaging apps have been directed to create credit scores. These scores will be lowered to punish and restrict users, posting objectionable content. The new rules also make users legally liable if they post illegal content.
As per CAC, illegal content includes posts, which "misinterpret government policy", "twist the history of the Chinese Communist Party" and "flaunt excessive wealth." Internet firms have been asked to comply with these new norms and immediately remove content and accounts that are in violation of China's Internet policy. They have also been directed to make their content checking methods more stringent.
Surprisingly, it appears that people in the UK are in favor of Internet regulations as much as some of the Chinese are. In a BBC World Service survey, 53% of the 1,001 of British respondents said that Internet should be regulated. Other than China, it's the only country, where citizens believe that the government should intervene on how the Internet operates.