Beijing: Business establishments across China are objecting to a move by the Public Security Bureau to install costly web monitoring software in bars, restaurants, hotels and bookstores.
According to the New York Times, many businesses are cutting off Internet access in protest.
Web-grazing literati are at a loss over this development.
In China, the software developed by Apple costs about 3,100 dollars, and provides public security officials the identities of those logging on to the wireless service of a restaurant, cafe or private school and monitors their web activity.
Those who ignore the regulation and provide unfettered access face a 2,300 dollarfine and the possible revocation of their business license.
“From the point of view of the common people, this policy is unfair,” the NYT quoted Wang Bo, the owner of L’Infusion, a cafe that features crepes, waffles and the companionship of several dozing cats, as saying.
“It’s just an effort to control the flow of information,” Bo added.
It is unclear whether the new measures will be strictly enforced or applied beyond the area of central Beijing where they are already in effect.
But they suggest that public security officials, unnerved by turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa partly enabled by the Internet, are undaunted in their efforts to increase controls.
China already has some of the world’s most far-reaching online restrictions.
Last year, the government blocked more than a million Web sites, many of them pornographic, but also Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Evite. Recent regulations make it difficult for individuals unaffiliated with a company to create personal Web sites.