New Rules in China to Prevent the Illegal Collection of Personal Information By Mobile Apps

Written by: Richard Sheinis, Esq.

Over the past year, Chinese regulators have sought to crack down on the collection and use of personal data by mobile apps. New regulations published jointly by China’s Cyberspace Administration, Ministry of industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Public Security, and State Administration for Market Regulation, address the illegal collection and use of personal data by mobile app developers.  Requirements for mobile apps include publication of service regulations, clarity as to the purpose and methods of data collection, consent for the collection and sharing of personal information, and not collecting user information not related to the service provided by the app.  A report by Xinhua News states that one-third (1/3) of all apps in China are prone to data safety risks.  Another report claimed that 91 out of 100 mobile apps collected too much data.

Since China first passed its data privacy regulatory framework under the 2017 cyber security law, there have been complaints that the regulations are confusing and do little to protect personal information.  The personal information security specification, which was promulgated in May 2018, offers guidelines that are only “recommended.”  Hopefully, the crackdown on mobile apps is a step in the right direction to protect data privacy in China.