China announced it wants to regulate the way its citizens access the Internet. Many Chinese citizens and businesses use virtual private networks to access sites and networks banned by China's Great Firewall but this practice is now under fire.
The country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology declared gateways like VPNs will need to get official permission to operate. The vetting of VPNs is part of a broader initiative to "manage the information available online".
In its notice, the Ministry said China's net connection market was "disordered" and needed regulating.
In a bid to sort out the situation it said it was embarking on the long term plan to bring some order to the way people go online. Net connection firms and the other ways people get online would be scrutinised, it said.
China uses many different technologies to police what people say online and which sites they can visit. Many sites popular outside the country, such as Facebook and YouTube, are blocked or restricted to those behind what is known as China's "great firewall".