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In a bid to control the internet, China tries to put the squeeze on mobile news apps

Joseph Volpe, @jrvolpe
September 30, 2013
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It's like Jeff Goldblum's neurotic, chaos theory spouting character in Jurassic Park said: "life, uh, finds a way." Or, in this case, it's the internet that can't be kept down at heel. According to a Reuters report, the Chinese government's State Internet Information Office has instituted a "crackdown" on rogue mobile news apps that purportedly transmit images of pornography and other "obscene information" to children. But what's more likely, however, is that the apps in question serve as a workaround for citizens seeking news reports from established foreign media outlets; news that would otherwise be censored.

The move could see any offending app makers, which includes popular apps like Zaker and Chouti, effectively shut down if they fail to fall in line and sanitize their content. China's long had a history of strangling internet access, but this development, coupled with recent news of censorship as usual for its Shanghai free trade zone, highlights just how difficult it is for the state to control the web. And with new social networks cropping up every day and promising novel means of spreading illegal information, that fight's fast becoming a losing battle.

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