Companies collect, sell data despite new cyber law
Chinese lawmakers are calling for a more specific law to protect personal data as abuse of online information continues despite the implementation of China's Cyber Security Law earlier this year.
More than 61 percent of some 10,000 people surveyed said they have encountered companies that restrict access to online services unless users give permission to collect and use their personal information. This according to a survey conducted by the China Youth Daily and an inspection team from the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Over half of respondents stated that China's laws on personal information collection and usage were not satisfactory, and just under half of those surveyed said they felt their personal information had been over-collected.
The results of the survey were released by Wang Shengjun, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), while briefing lawmakers on cyberspace protection on Sunday.
Wang called for a new law to protect personal information which would specify the responsibilities of online operators and the scope of personal information they are allowed to collect.
China implemented its first Cyber Security Law on June 1 this year, but it has yet to make a large impact, Qin An, director of the China Institute of Cyberspace Strategy, told the Global Times on Sunday.
The Cyber Security Law is only a general law to safeguard national cyberspace but does not provide specific details on the protection of personal data, said Qin.
The Cyber Security Law bans online service providers from collecting and selling users' personal information. Those who violate the provisions and infringe on personal information face hefty fines, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
According to Wang, there is a black market for personal information and employees at some companies have sold user information.
"The survey reveals that collecting users' information and privacy infringement are very common on free apps, but these are not inspected or punished," said Wang.
Over the past two years, public security departments in China have handled more than 3,700 cases of personal information theft and detained over 11,000 suspects.
From 2004 to September 2017, about 1,530 cases involving online personal information infringement were heard in courts at various levels in China, said Wang.
The results of the survey were submitted to the top legislature's ongoing session for deliberation.