China cracks down on Apple’s iMessage as national web cleanup continues

Spam messages originating on iMessage will be heavily monitored in the future

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 6:10pm

China’s Ministry of Information and Information Technology (MIIT) intends to lay down new regulations governing Apple’s iMessage, the default messaging app in every Apple iPhone and iPad. 

The measures include tools to monitor and prevent spam messages, which the ministry says are prevalent on the iOS default messaging app.

According to a report by Chinese technology site TechWeb, iMessage’s vulnerabilities to spam have cost users “millions” of RMB. 

Up to this point, TechWeb notes iMessage has been in a “vacuum” area void of regulation - particularly when compared to other messaging apps such as Tencent's WeChat.

Chinese authorities earlier this year embarked on a nationwide campaign to combat fraud, pornography, and other illicit goings-on via the internet.

Just last week, Tencent cooperated with officials to wipe out millions of WeChat and QQ accounts used for activities ranging from phishing scams to prostitution.

While the MIIT's announcement may be an extension of this crackdown, it may also be a jab at Apple.

MIIT has accused the American software giant of not taking sufficient action to curb criminal activities on iMessage, and Apple has also been the focus of many a labor rights investigation in China.

This article was originally reported by Tech in Asia and was edited and republished with permission.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Blum