08/19/2016, 15.35
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Internet crackdown: Beijing to censor online streaming

The government fears live streaming and wants full control over providers. However, the huge number of users and the huge amount of content make the task hard to accomplish.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – In the latest move by the authorities to clamp down on what it sees as "inappropriate" content online, the Cyberspace Administration of China wants (CAC) announced that it wants to monitor live streaming content full-time.

From the technical point of view it is not clear how this can be done since something live cannot by definition be control, unless it is recorded and is no longer live.

Live streaming is particularly popular among Chinese youth. There are an estimated 80 platforms in use around the country, with some gaining notoriety for hosting live broadcasts of stunts that have gone viral. One of the biggest of these platforms, Bilili, claims to have 50 million users.

The People's Daily reported that the CAC asked sites to "strengthen security evaluation of new products like live broadcast". This should include 24-hour monitoring of online content.

The systematic online censorship is a priority for the central government. Through user identification and continuous monitoring of the most popular sites, Beijing hopes to tame the internet and prevent undesirable news and analyses. However, the huge number of users makes the goal very complicated and expensive.

In order to boost online control, the General Office of the Central Leading Group on Cyberspace Affairs (CLGCA) and the Communist Youth League earlier this year announced plans to recruit nationwide 10.5 million “Youth Volunteers for Internet Civilization,” wrote Willy Wo-Lap Lam, a major China expert.

As part of this effort, “Each major university was assigned quotas of several thousand such volunteers whose job is to ensure that politically incorrect and ‘Westernized’ materials are banished from the Internet and the social media.”

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