China's determination to police the Internet in any and every way it sees fit seems to have no bounds. The country's officials have outdone themselves this time by ordering all public spaces offering Wi-Fi access to install specific software police can use to identify people using the service, state media said today according to the Associated Free Press .
That's bad from a privacy perspective, but it's also costly to a business' bottom line. Quoting figures from the China Business News, AFP says the software runs anywhere from 20,000 yuan (around $3,100) to 60,000 yuan (around $9,300). Rather than fork over that kind of cash, public places like bars and cafes are opting instead to cut off Internet access, despite Wi-Fi being hugely popular.
"For a reason that everyone is aware of, we are temporarily stopping our Wi-Fi service," the Beijing-based Kubrick bookstore told the China Business News.
Another option is to ignore the order, but according to cafe and restaurant owners in China, businesses caught doing so face a minimum 5,000 yuan (around $775) fine.