New Chinese rules say Apple App Store must track users

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By Larry Banks

New regulations have come into force in China, meaning companies like Apple will be forced to track the identities of App Store users and flag anything that may violate the country’s censorship laws.

App stores and their owners now have to maintain user activity records for sixty days, notes Bloomberg. Developers must also be verified, and from July 1st their apps will need to be evaluated by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

The laws appear meant to stop political dissent and offensive content, but they also include new privacy protections for users. App stores and providers will need to obtain consent to collect personal information, including contacts and location data.

Stronger regulations have been expected for a while now, however they impose greater burdens on companies like Apple, as well as developers and others.

The screening rules are expected to cause delays at the App Store in China, since even the simplest process for local developers requires submission twenty days before launch. Foreign companies, and those that don’t qualify for the simplified process, will have to wait longer to have their apps go live. Companies that want assistance with approval may have to spend thousands of dollars on third-party help…

SOURCE: Bloomberg.

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