China's new regulations barring domestic telecom and Internet companies from providing cross-border services through special lines including virtual private networks (VPN) will help regulate the whole industry while impacting illegal activities, analysts said.
The comments came after the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said Sunday that it will regulate the Internet services sector by clearing out illegal activities such as unlicensed business activity and operations beyond their scope in the Internet Data Center, Internet Service Provider and Content Delivery Network service businesses, ending in March 2018.
Without approval, all basic telecommunication companies and Internet access service providers are barred from setting up or renting special lines (including VPNs) to carry out cross-border operations, according to an announcement on the website of the MIIT.
It's necessary for the authorities to roll out such regulations, which are conducive to striking against cross-border crimes and purifying cyber space, said Li Yi, a Shanghai-based independent IT expert.
"Some multinational companies in China such as Microsoft Corp have a reasonable need to communicate with their headquarters overseas via VPNs, but some corporations or individuals browse overseas Internet pages out of illegal motivations. In this regard, the new rules are extremely important," he told the Global Times on Sunday.
In China, most Internet users are still concerned about cyber safety issues, according to a report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Sunday. More than 70 percent of the netizens have encountered cyber safety issues, of which Internet fraud was the major one.
This sector is in an area that should have been regulated a long time ago, Fu Liang, a Beijing-based independent telecom expert, said.
"Domestic laws and regulations on the Internet lagged behind the development of the Internet industry in the past decade. The operation scope of Internet access service providers is blurry, with some companies expanding their businesses to win more clients. Some companies even carry out their businesses without licenses," he told the Global Times.
The new policy provides rules for providers to follow when offering services. Every communication bureau should investigate the service providers in its region to eradicate illegal operations, said an announcement on the website of the MIIT.