China plans to unveil new regulations targeted towards blockchain censorship. These rules are the first to specifically target blockchain technology in the country.
Details of the Proposed Rules
According to the South China Morning Post, the country’s Cyberspace Administration published a draft of the proposed regulations on its website on Friday (October 19th, 2018). It requires users of blockchain-based online information services to register with their real names and government-issued national identity numbers.
The laws also require companies running such platforms to censor any content that poses a national security threat, as well as shut down the accounts of repeat offenders. Furthermore, such companies will also maintain backups of user data for a period of six months to be provided to government agents for inspection whenever necessary.
Members of the public have until the start of November to provide comments on the proposed rules. It isn’t clear whether state officials will modify the rules in any way based on the comments provided by the public. The Cyberspace Authority has yet to issue any definite timeframe for when the laws will become official.
Dealing with Blockchain Immutability
While China has taken steps to crack down on cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings (ICOs), Beijing’s policies have been favorable towards blockchain. Despite this welcoming stance, the proposed laws are in keeping with the country’s internet censorship policies which are meant to prevent all forms of dissent against the government.
According to reports, the proposed regulations came about after an activist in China posted details of an alleged sexual misconduct scandal from 20 years ago on the Ethereum blockchain. If the proposed law becomes official, such posts would be taken down by whichever company runs the platform.
While the proposed regulatory paradigm falls in line with Beijing’s stance on user data, it runs contrary to the immutability of decentralized technology where data alteration or removal is impossible. Thus, time will reveal how China plans to enforce this latest attempt at internet censorship.
Already, the government has taken steps to censor many internet platforms. In 2017, China implemented strict cybersecurity laws restricting the use of services like VPNs and mandating real name registrations on internet services.
What do you think about plans by the Chinese government to censor online information platforms that run on decentralized technology? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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