Monday, July 22, 2024

China clamps down on AirDrop and Bluetooth file sharing for national security reasons

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(CNN) – China’s cyberspace regulator plans to issue new rules restricting the use of wireless file-sharing features, such as Bluetooth and Apple’s AirDrop, for national security reasons.

The measure takes place after that Protesters in China will use AirDrop During anti-government protests in October 2022 to share content, bypassing strict internet censorship. Weeks later, Apple moved to limit the use of the AirDrop feature on devices in China.

The draft proposal was released earlier this week by China Cyberspace Administrationthe powerful internet watchdog that reports to a foundation headed by leader Xi Jinping.

The aim of the regulation is to “maintain national security and public social interests” by regulating the use of short-range wireless communication tools such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other technologies, the text says.

People should not post or share “illegal or harmful” information on these networks and should report violations to the regulatory body. Those who create or support such networks must require users to provide their real names and other personal information.

The draft states that service providers must conduct security assessments when launching new apps or features capable of “crowd mobilization” or allowing “public expression”.

The regulator is seeking public comment on the proposed rules until July 6.

In addition to AirDrop, Google’s Nearby Share allows users to transfer data between Android and Chrome OS devices over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Chinese phone makers Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo also offer similar services.

In the past year, the international media, incl New York times And Vice World News, reported that some residents in China were using AirDrop to distribute flyers and images echoing slogans used in a rare anti-Xi protest on October 13. On that day, just before Xi secured an unprecedented third term in office, two banners were hung on a major road in northwest Beijing protesting Xi’s zero-starvation policy and authoritarian rule.

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And in 2019, AirDrop, which only works for short distances, was particularly popular with anti-government protesters in Hong Kong who regularly used the feature to pass colorful banners and artwork to metro passengers urging them to join the protests.

CNN’s Stephen Jiang and Juliana Liu contributed to this report.

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