The Spero News has reported on a new controversy in China over Internet censorship. Specifically, Beijing has a new police regulation that requires businesses such as restaurants, bars and hotels to install costly Internet access control systems. And while those who oppose Internet censorship say it’s a way to further restrict Internet access, business owners are complaining about the costs.
In fact, the Internet access systems will cost businesses between Rmb20,000 ($3,100) to Rmb40,000 ($6,000) and will require an ID for internet access. Moreover, the new Internet access device will retain all data for 60 days and this will include who used the Internet name and the websites visited. However, the provision will only apply to certain areas of Beijing – such as Central Beijing and the Dongcheng District.
Beijing police say the new measures target online gambling, hackers and porn site visitors but critics say it’s a new way to censor the Internet. Meanwhile, small businesses say that not only can they not afford the costs of such systems, they also cannot afford the Rmb15,000 ($2,300) fine along with the loss of their license. On the other hand, having free internet also attracts many young customers to a business who then stay and surf the Internet hours on end.
A spokesman for the office of Beijing Public Security has noted that it is “examining the situation” but has not provided any further explanation while other police sources say that similar measures will be introduced in other major Chinese cities.