Briefing: China to require news and social media sites to log and report user data

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China to require detailed user logs from tech companies – Financial Times

What happened: Beginning November 30, the Cyberspace Administration of China announced yesterday, all online service providers with “public opinion or social mobilization capacity” should prepare to provide user information to the government. The regulation will apply to blogs, microblogs, forums, news providers, and video streaming platforms. Companies will be required to log the real names of their users, as well as logs of comments, chats, and other user data. They’re also mandated to employ systems to report such information to the government, and comply with any spot checks carried out by regulators.

Why it’s important: Chinese regulators have been taking more steps to heighten the state’s access to data collected by private companies. Earlier this month, a new regulation was imposed allowing police to enter the premises of internet-focused companies—be it information providers, internet cafes, or data centers—to collect relevant data. The newest law extends its collection abilities. The regulation effectively reduces anonymity by extending real-name verification requirements to link all online activity to an individual.