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China is calling on technology companies for voice software security

HONG KONG (AP) – Chinese authorities have summoned 11 companies, including Alibaba and Tencent, for talks on audio software security as Beijing tightens its Internet scrutiny.

An Internet observer at China’s Cyberspace Authority said on Thursday that the talk was about assessing the security of audio social media, a technology used in deep fake technology that could potentially exploit to create synthetic audio content for talking people.

The move comes as authorities have stepped up control of technology companies in the country in recent months amid fears of anti-competitive behavior. Twelve technology companies, including Tencent and Baidu, have been fined for violating antitrust rules.

Companies calling for negotiations with the CAC have included smartphone maker Xiaomi, parent company TikTok Bytedance and live streaming company Kuaishou.

Authorities have urged them to abide by cyber security laws, conduct security assessments, improve risk prevention and control, and take “effective remedies” for any previously unknown security threats.

The meeting comes after China last month banned the Clubhouse audio-social media platform after Chinese users launched real-time discussions on political topics such as pressure on Uyghurs in northwest Xinjiang. The Chinese equivalents of Clubhouse have been appearing in the Chinese market ever since. Companies like Xiaomi have re-launched the messaging app on such an audio-social media platform.

In 2019, China banned online video and audio providers from using artificial intelligence technologies to produce “fake news” that authorities deemed untrue.

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