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China: New policy requires internet firms to provide detailed logs on users to govt. body

…The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said as of November 30 it will require assessment reports from any internet platform that could be used to "socially mobilise" or lead to "major changes in public opinion". As part of the assessments, which include on-site inspections, companies must show they are logging information including real names, usernames, account names, network addresses, times of use, chat logs, call logs and the type of device being used.

The CAC, in its policy notice posted on its website, did not name specific companies affected, but listed a wide range of services, including chat functions, blogs, public accounts, webcasts, video sites and news providers.  Companies with those functions include Tencent, which operates the WeChat messaging service, Alibaba Group, Baidu and Apple, which hosts its message service in China

According to the terms and conditions of social media services, including the Twitter-like service Weibo and WeChat, tech companies are already required to share information with the government on request, but there is little transparency on the exact process. Companies have increasingly introduced new features to boost government influence over platforms and quash viral content to avoid fines, suspensions, and in some cases permanent closure.

On Tuesday, the CAC said it had removed 9,800 social media accounts from independent news providers deemed to have posted sensational, vulgar or politically harmful content…

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