China’s national internet regulator is proposing to limit mobile file-sharing services such as AirDrop and Bluetooth to restrict the spread of illegal and “undesirable” information, prompting concerns amongst activists about hampering their ability to mobilize and share information. The move could further strengthen China’s “Great Firewall,” which represents one of the most controlled internet regimes. Tools like AirDrop have been used by activists to share political messages without revealing personal details or going through a centralized, monitored network.
- To expand censorship, China’s national internet regulator is proposing to limit mobile file-sharing services such as AirDrop and Bluetooth, used in the country to bypass traditional internet controls.
- Activists in China have used such file-sharing services to organize protests and spread political messages. These services allow sharing of information without revealing personal details or going through a centralized, monitored network.
- After President Xi Jinping secured his third term, Apple limited the scope of AirDrop in China, restricting users to a 10-minute window for receiving files from non-contacts. The reason for this update was not clarified by Apple.
- The proposed regulations from the Cyberspace Administration of China require users to prevent and resist the distribution of undesirable information and mandate real-name registration before using file-sharing services.
- Critics view these regulations as a move towards totalitarianism, though China defends the proposed rules as necessary for national security and public interest. Activists worry that these rules could further suppress free speech and dissemination of information.