China announces central internet overseer

Dylan Bushell-Embling
05 May 2011
00:00
China has announced a new agency to take charge of the regulations and restrictions on the internet industry.
The new department will be called the State Internet Information Office, the government-run Xinhua news agency revealed.
It will be in charge of directing and co-ordinating online content management, including China's extensive censorship rules, and investigating and punishing breaches.
The office will also have influence over operators, and their handling of internet access provision as well as domain name and IP address distribution.
The State Council Information Office's current director and vice director will take the same positions at the new office, while the vice ministers of IT and public security will also join as vice directors.
The office will also have purview over online news, gaming and video businesses.
But the government's announcement hasn't made clear whether the new agency will usurp or merely co-ordinate with the numerous departments that already claim regulatory control over various parts of the industry.
At least 14 government units currently have a say in China's internet policy, the New York Times said, and agencies see claiming control over parts of the industry as a means to increase their power or funding.

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