Chinese app stores ordered to register with government

In what may seem like a totalitarian move on the surface, the Chinese government's Cyberspace Administration has announced that it will require all the country's app stores to register with their offices. While this certainly opens the door to more direct government control, the move is said to be in the name of consumer protection, with a goal of cracking down on fraudulent apps.

The new rule is being enforced under a law passed in 2016 that aims to put a stop to apps that engage in illegal activities or pose a threat to national security, and will go into effect on January 16th, or this coming Monday. Among the apps the government is targeting include those that defraud or steal from users, or make stolen content — such as media — easily available.

App stores are plentiful in China, including a large number of third-party Android platforms to take the place of Google, which is prohibited from operating in the country. But while large companies, such as Apple, have and enforce their own rules and restrictions, many of the smaller stores operate with little to no security, easily allowing developers to prey on Chinese consumers.

Under the new rules, app store owners will need to notify the government when they open or close a storefront, or make changes to their platform. The Cyberspace Administration says these records will make it clear who is responsible should app developers, or app stores as a whole, are participating in illegal activities.

SOURCE New York Times