China’s internet censorship continues to astound the rest of the world after Asia’s most populous country reported it deleted near 8,000 ‘harmful’ smartphone apps. The development was announced by the country’s online regulator, Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) that has never shied away from enforcing controversial online gags.
In line with the alleged malicious intent of the apps, CAC directed its local carriers to stop the services of the apps after their malice was discovered. Two main issues came up from the shut-down: firstly, CAC says the apps were illegally siphoning user data for obvious reasons (marketing and advertising, mostly), and that some apps tricked users to spend money for additional features.
Apparently, the campaign to hunt down malicious apps was launched in late 2018. The campaign’s primary goal was to eliminate any app that infringed on users’ rights, and it appears thousands of apps matched that description.
Among the affected app is a popular game, Fruit Ninja, which is accused of cheating users into purchasing some purchases. Additional prominent titles include Bathroom Goddess and Naughty Housemaid (naughty!) that were, according to Reuters, found to commit ‘online hooligan activities’ such spamming, forced adverts and downloads, to mention a few.
China’s internet access and services are insanely restrictive as the government strives to shield the Chinese from world’s top internet products such as Google, among other popular sites such as Facebook-affiliated social media platforms, to mention a few. Companies such as Google have been striving to crack that market by building a unique, censored version of Search for the China natives. The project is still on hold after an uproar from the international community.
On the other hand, Google’s own mobile operating system Android’s Google Play has also received a fair share of criticism for allowing distribution of malicious apps. Authorities have since reported the search giant’s inability to effective vetting of apps, which has allowed thousands of services to exploit users. Google has since rolled out features to alleviate the complaints and is in the process of taming SMS permissions for services that do not explicitly need them.
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