Yesterday, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced new regulations for streaming services in the Asian country. The Chinese government will monitor the sessions of live video streamers, and block them if they threaten national security or social order.
In the past two years, the nation’s live video streaming industry has boomed. In consequence, the government established the CAC in 2014 to regulate it. The CAC is China’s central Internet censorship, oversight, and control agency.
CAC regulations on the Chinese Internet cover usernames, user comments, virtual private networks, the content of Internet portals, and much more. Back in June, companies including Baidu, Sina, Sohu.com, and Youku Tudou already accepted new CAC rules.
Among other things, these rules included requirements for real-name authentication. Last year, the CAC gave Chinese microblogging website Sina Weibo a warning. They demanded censorship improvement, alleging Sina Weibo had failed to regulate user comments correctly.
China’s streaming platforms will now have to monitor and save user content for 60 days
In an announcement posted on the agency’s official website on Friday, the CAC announced the regulation would come into effect on December 1. The new rules will further strengthen China’s controversial surveillance measures.
Streaming services are now legally obliged to log user data and content during 60 days. Additionally, they have to collaborate with regulators to provide information about users who stream content that the government considers threatening to national security or social order.
If they found any objectionable content, both users and providers are punishable. The law also prohibits online news broadcasting services from original reporting. From now on, they have to use state-sanctioned reports and sources.
The exponential growth of China’s streaming industry has alerted the government
According to estimations from Credit Suisse Group analysts, the industry could surpass the $5 billion by the end of 2017. Cheap bandwidth combined with an increase in young mobile users should make it happen.
Concerned by the influence of such a big industry, the government formed a self-criticism coalition with the country’s top firms in April. They claim streaming is damaging China’s youth by promoting pornography, fraud, and terrorism.
Mark Natkin, founder and managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting, says the new regulations is just the government’s way to keep high-profile streaming entities at bay while getting rid of small-time streamers that are harder to sanction and don’t usually cooperate with them.