China tightens mobile app development rules over national security

Beijing: With crackdowns on Internet companies, China has further tightened mobile app development rules with stricter requirements for content and data protection, the media reported. The Cybersecurity Administration of China (CAC) has published revised guidelines for mobile apps, which will take effect on August 1, as per South China Morning Post. With the rapid development and wider use of mobile apps, new situations and problems continue to emerge, which require (the rules) to be revised and improved to adapt to new developments, said the watchdog.

The move could deal a fresh blow to the developer community, after more than 2 million apps disappeared from the Chinese market in the last three years, the report noted. The number of apps available in April 2020 was 2.31 million, half of the 4.49 million available at the end of 2018, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

However, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently praised Chinese app developers who “have always been at the cutting edge”. Earlier this year, the Chinese internet watchdog issued a rule that requires companies operating internet platforms with more than 1 million users to undergo a security review before listing on stock exchanges abroad. After cracking down on big internet companies like Alibaba and Tencent, China is now mulling regulations that seek to classify online data based on importance like national security. The CAC in November last year unveiled regulations that included a proposed data classification and security framework.

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China will soon establish a hierarchical data classification management and protection system. “The regulation stipulates that data is classified into three categories — general, important and core — based on their degrees of impact on and significance to national security, public interest or the legitimate rights and interests of individuals or organisations,” according to local reports.

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