On June 25, 2016, the Cyberspace Administration of China published its new Administrative Provisions on Internet Information Search Services (the “Provisions”). The Provisions will come into effect on August 1, 2016.
Under the Provisions, Internet information search service providers (“service providers”), which include operators of search engines, are required to adopt information security management systems, such as systems enabling the review of information, real-time inspection of public information and protection of personal information.
Under the Provisions, service providers are prohibited from showing subversive and obscene content and other content prohibited by law and regulation. If legally prohibited content shows up in a search result, service providers should block the result and report it to the Cyberspace Administration.
In addition, service providers should provide search results that are objective, impartial and authoritative. When providing paid search results, service providers must review the qualifications of the paying clients and clearly identify paid results and natural search results, attaching clearly evident marks to paid search results on an item by item basis.
The release of the Provisions was triggered by the death of a young man, who chose a hospital based on an Internet search on Baidu (a popular search engine in China), but received ineffective hospital treatments and therapy that was not yet fully approved.