China wants to restrict the use of mobile file-sharing services such as AirDrop and Bluetooth in a move that will expand its censorship machine.
Ednews informs via BBC that the national internet regulator on Tuesday launched a month-long public consultation on the proposals.
They want service providers to prevent the spread of illegal and "undesirable" information, among other things.
Activists fear that this will further hinder their ability to mobilise people, or share information.
Bluetooth, AirDrop and such file-sharing services are crucial tools in China, where the so-called Great Firewall has resulted in one of the mostly tightly-controlled internet regimes.
In recent years, anti-government protesters have often turned to AirDrop to organise and share their political demands. For instance, some activists were sharing anti-Xi Jinping posters using this tool on the Shanghai subway last October - just as the Chinese president was awaiting a historic third term as the country's leader.
AirDrop is especially popular among activists because it relies on Bluetooth connections between close-range devices, allowing them to share information with strangers without revealing their personal details or going through a centralised network that can be monitored.
But soon after Mr Xi secured a third term, Apple released a new version of the feature in China, limiting its scope. Now Chinese users of iPhones and other Apple devices are restricted to a 10-minute window when receiving files from people who are not listed as a contact. After 10 minutes, users can only receive files from contacts. Apple did not explain why the update was first introduced in China, but over the years, the tech giant has been criticised for appeasing Beijing.
The latest move, activists say, suppresses the few remaining file-sharing tools at their disposal, although China has defended these regulations in the name of national security and public interest.
Proposals unveiled by the Cyberspace Administration of China on Tuesday require users to "prevent and resist the production, copying and distribution of undesirable information". Those who do not comply must be reported to the authorities, the draft regulations say.
Users must also register with their real name before they can use these file-sharing services, and the service must be turned off by default.