Chinese cyberspace agency on Thursday held a meeting with 11 tech companies to discuss “internet security”, including deep fakes and other sensitive technologies. According to the Associated Press, the meeting was attended by some of the big names in China’s technology sector, such as Alibaba, Tencent, TikTok, and Xiaomi. During the meeting, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), reportedly asked companies to inform about any new technology that holds the potential to mobilize people.
China stepped-up scrutiny of internet-based companies in the country in the recent past, raising concerns about increasing monopolistic behaviour. According to Bloomberg, Chinese President Xi Jinping has asked regulators to keep monitoring the online sphere and find ways to improve competition amongst firms. Several companies were slapped with fines for flouting monopoly rules after Xi Jinping's order.
However, an AP report suggests that the latest meeting was held to conduct a security assessment of deepfake technology and voice software that authorities fear could lead to mobilisation of the society if used irresponsibly. Deep fake technology is used all over the world, where creators replace an existing person in an image or video with someone else. The technology uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to create original-looking products.
Last year, Chinese authorities stopped Alibaba's Ant Group from making one of the biggest IPO debuts in the world allegedly after founder Jack Ma criticised Beijing's economic policy. It is said the $37 billion dual listings of Ant Group in the Shanghai and Hong Kong markets were suspended after months of shoulder-rubbing between Chinese regulators and top executives of Ant Group. The Wall Street Journal, in a report, had claimed the suspension order may have directly come from Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, Chinese authorities said the listings were suspended because of changes in China's financial regulations related to online lending, the primary business of Alipay's parent company.