China Doubles Down Against Mobile Apps’ Data Collection

As China is looking to set a firmer ground against the personal data collection of mobile apps, it released a new set of draft guidelines on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. The move comes as the nation attempts to prevent unauthorized data collection practices by the technology sector.

In the past, numerous breaches and privacy infringements have embroiled the country in different issues, states the South China Morning Post. There had been concerns and allegations of mobile apps participating in big data research in participating with other internet companies.

According to the South China Morning Post, in keeping with the nation’s crackdown on these internet platforms and data practices, the Cyberspace Administration of China published its draft set of guidelines.

Mobile Apps Data Collection

The Cyberspace Administration of China is the internet regulator of the country. In the past, the regulator, together with the government, has expressed concerns about unlawful collection practices and the abuse of consumer rights, states ET Telecom.

The new set of rules reportedly contains the narrowed scope of user data collected by the 38 types of mobile applications currently prevalent in the market. These include online shopping apps, mobile payments, instant messaging, ride-hailing services, map navigation, and many more.

Nikkei Asia states that the recent crackdown by the government may be aimed at tech giants such as Alibaba Group Holding and its Alipay app and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat messaging application. Both of these boast of having around one billion users each.

Under the new set of guidelines, the South China Morning Post states that live streaming and short video-steaming services, and ten other types of apps, will not be allowed to obtain the “necessary personal information,” even for video playback and search-related functions.

Moreover, the draft rules also state that necessary personal information is related to data that is “essential to ensuring the normal operation” of the mobile app in question, shares the South China Morning Post.

Furthermore, Nikkei Asia shares that mobile software companies would no longer be allowed to obtain personal data unrelated to the products and services they offer.

The Cyberspace Administration of China calls that “as long as the user agrees to the collection of the necessary personal information, the apps cannot refuse the user’s installation and use.”

Following the release of the new guidelines from China’s internet regulator, Nikkei Asia reveals that the Chinese government will obtain the thoughts of the public about the new rules until December 16, 2020, prior to finalizing the details and implementing the new set of rules.