Re: New M.I.I.T. Provisions in China
Q: When these new provisions will come into effect?
A: “Several Provisions on Regulating the Market Order for Internet Information Services” was promulgated by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Communications Administration (“M.I.I.T.”) and will come into effect on March 15th of 2012.
Q: What’s the purpose of the new provisions?
A: The Provisions are formulated for purposes of regulating the market order of internet information services, protecting the legitimate rights and interests of internet information service providers and users, and promoting the sound development of the internet industry.
The Provisions cover a wide range of issues relevant to the operation of Internet information service providers in the P.R.C., such as commercial websites (as distinguished from "network service providers" which, in M.I.I.T. terminology provide network services, such as internet access), but this article will look only at those online user issues.
Q: What’s the main content of the new provisions?
A: The Provisions are related to two main following issues:
1, Anti-competition: The provisions prohibit website operators from engaging in unfair practices that would prejudice the legitimate interests of another website operator, such as maliciously interfering with the services of another Website Operator or its software; making false statements or spreading false rumours about another Website Operator or disparaging its services or products; etc.
2, Consumer Protection: Various measures are placed to provide a higher level of consumer protection for services or products offered to the Mainland China consumers via the Internet. These include:
i) Product/ Service Evaluation
ii) Users’ Rights
iv) Pop-up Window Advertisement
v) Data Protection
vi) Information Security
vii) Complaint Process
Q: What’s the penalty?
A: Any violation of the Provisions may attract a fine of RMB 10,000 - 30,000. Though the fine is relatively low, Website Operators, who are in breach of the Provisions, may put their reputation and goodwill at risk because the telecommunications authorities have the power to make a public announcement about the wrong doings.