Ms Yang Chen is a legal assistant with AnJie Law Firm. She focuses on data protection, cybersecurity, telecommunications, internet and other technology-related legal matters.
In order to effectively strengthen the protection of users' personal information, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the Notice on Carrying out the Special Campaign to Promote Governance on Apps that Infringe Upon Users' Rights and Interests, requiring that a national app testing platform management system be launched before the end of August 2020. The testing platform management system is expected to complete testing for 400,000 mainstream apps before 10 December 2020.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently instructed third-party testing agencies to examine certain mobile apps and issued the Second and Third Batches of Apps that Infringe Upon Users' Rights and Interests, requiring operators of said apps to make rectifications. Numerous apps did not complete their rectifications before the designated timelines. As a result, the MIIT may impose fines.
China Central Television's 3.15 programme recently exposed that third-party software development kit plug-ins for mobile phones were collecting and using users' personal information. In response, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology immediately asked the relevant entities to investigate the enterprises involved in accordance with the law.
The Justice Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality recently issued the Data Regulations of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone for public opinion. The draft regulations define the concept of 'data rights' for the first time and set out the ownership of personal and public data. According to the draft regulations, no organisation or individual may infringe on natural persons' data rights in accordance with the law.
The General Office of the State Council recently issued the 2020 Legislative Plan, which includes several laws applicable to the cybersecurity sector, such as the Regulations on Network Protection of Minors and the Regulations on the Security Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council have jointly issued the Master Plan for the Construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port. According to the plan, the aim is for the port to be completed and operational as a globally influential duty-free trading centre by 2050. Among other things, the port is expected to open up value-added telecoms services and gradually remove restrictions on the percentage of enterprises' shareholdings which can be held by foreign investors.
In May 2020 the National People's Congress passed the Civil Code, which will take effect on 1 January 2021. The Civil Code includes special provisions on the protection of privacy and personal information and provides that personal information pertaining to natural persons should be protected as a fundamental civil right. The processing of personal information should adhere to the principles of lawfulness, legitimacy and necessity, and excessive and unreasonable processing is prohibited.
The App Special Governance Panel recently issued the 2019 Special Governance Report on Apps for Illegal Collection and Use of Personal Information, summarising governance efforts from January 2019. According to the report, illegal collection and use activities by apps will be cracked down on and enterprises' capacity to protect personal information will be greatly improved. Further, knowledge of personal information protection by apps should be extensively available.
According to the Notice of the People's Bank of China on Issuing Financial Industry Standards on Strengthening the Security Management of Mobile Financial Client Application Software, the National Internet Finance Association of China has organised a real-name filing for mobile financial apps. There are 73 apps in the first batch to be filed with the association.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently established third-party testing institutions to monitor mobile apps and ordered app operators found to have infringed users' rights and interests to rectify this problem. The MIIT subsequently found that 16 app operators had failed to meet the rectification requirements and ordered them to comply with its request.
In the first quarter of 2020, the Network Security Department of the national public security organs reportedly developed its functions, strengthened the protection of citizens' personal information and investigated and dealt with 386 illegal apps for collecting citizens' personal information in accordance with the law. This article provides a brief summary of the department's activities.
To further regulate the dissemination of information online and protect the public interest, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) recently launched a nationwide clean up the Internet campaign lasting for eight months from May 2020. According to the CAC, the campaign comprehensively covers various online communication channels and platforms and aims to remove illegal and harmful information from the Internet.
The State Administration for Market Regulation and the National Information Security Standardisation Technical Committee recently released the Information Security Technology Classification Guide for the Classified Protection of Cybersecurity to provide methods and procedures for the classification and protection of information systems and other protection targets which do not involve state secrets (collectively known as 'targets of classified protection').
The Tianjin Cyberspace Administration recently issued a circular which requires the operators of apps (including mini-programs and website tools) for the prevention and control of COVID-19 to fulfil personal information obligations in accordance with the law, provide relevant information on personal information protection online and carry out security-based self-assessments and rectification processes, where required.
The Network Security Administration of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently interviewed the party responsible for the Sina Weblog App regarding a data breach caused by malicious use of the user query interface. Sina Weblog replied that it has upgraded its interface security strategy and will perform its data protection obligations according to MIIT's instructions.
The National Information Security Standardisation Technical Committee recently released the Network Security Standard Practice Guidelines – Guidelines for Personal Information Security Protection by Apps for public consultation. Based on the statistics released by certain assessment tools and the typical issues which have come to light due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the guidelines summarise 10 activities which app operators should avoid.
In order to protect personal information during the prevention and control phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission issued the Circular on Ensuring Effective Personal Information Protection and Utilisation of Big Data to Support Joint Efforts for Epidemic Prevention and Control. This article examines the circular's main requirements.
The National Financial Standardisation Technical Commission recently issued the Personal Financial Information Protection Technical Specification to regulate the secure management of personal financial information. Based on the damaging effects of unauthorised access to or the modification of such information, institutions without the corresponding financial qualification are not authorised to collect certain types of personal financial information.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently released the Guidelines on Classification and Grading of Industrial Data (On Trial) to guide industry and IT administrations, industrial enterprises and industrial internet platform enterprises in carrying out the classification and grading of industrial data. According to the guidelines, 'industrial data' refers to data generated and applied throughout the lifecycle of products and services in the industrial sector.
The State Administration for Market Regulation and the Standardisation Administration recently released a national standard circular to announce that the Information Security Technology – Personal Information Security Specification (Specification 2020) and seven additional national standards have been issued and will take effect on 1 October 2020. Specification 2020 was revised based on the Information Security Technology – Personal Information Security Specification which came into effect in 2018.
The Beijing Communications Administration recently organised a two-month examination of the network and data security of apps to target the illegal, compulsory and excessive collection of user information. The examination selected 50 apps with a certain influence and number of users, covering social media, online rental and automotive services, online education, finance, online medical care, basic telecoms enterprises and six other areas.
The Administrative Provisions on Online Audiovisual Information Services, which were jointly issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China and two other departments in November 2019, recently came into effect. The provisions set out requirements for the creation, distribution and transmission of audio videos based on new technologies and applications such as deep learning and virtual reality.
The Shanghai Cyberspace Administration recently released the 2019 Network Security Incident Contingency Plan. According to the contingency plan, network security incidents in Shanghai are classified as Grade I, Grade II, Grade III and Grade IV. If a network security incident occurs, the relevant entity must report it to the competent authority verbally within half an hour and in writing within one hour.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress recently approved the Cryptography Law. Under the law, cryptography is divided into core cryptography, ordinary cryptography and commercial cryptography. If a commercial cryptography product concerns state security, the national economy, people's livelihoods or social public interests, it will be included in the catalogue of critical network equipment and dedicated cybersecurity products under the law.
The App Governance Panel recently published a new draft of the Information Security Technology – Basic Specification for Collecting Personal Information in Mobile Internet Applications. Among other things, the new draft sets out requirements for apps that contain third-party codes or plug-ins which can collect personal data and revises the list of 'necessary' personal data for a variety of apps.
The App Governance Panel recently released a revised version of the Personal Information Security Specification for public consultation following the previous draft versions published in June and January 2019. The revised draft includes amendments regarding unsubscribing from online services and the obligations of data controllers and processors in that regard.
The People's Bank of China recently issued the Trial Measures for the Protection of Personal Financial Information/Data (Preliminary Draft) to relevant commercial banks in order to solicit their opinions. It has been reported that under the trial measures, banks and other financial institutions will be unable to obtain personal financial information from third parties that are illegally engaged in personal credit investigation activities.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently published the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Development of the Network Security Industry for public comment. According to the opinions, the ministry aims to have a number of cybersecurity enterprises generating an annual revenue of over Rmb2 billion by 2025. As such, the opinions provide a list of recommendations to that end.
The draft Civil Code was recently submitted to the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress for a third reading. Compared with the first and second drafts, the third draft expands the scope of the definition of 'personal information' to cover email addresses and location information.
The final version of the Provisions on the Cyber Protection of Personal Information of Children recently came into effect. According to the provisions, network operators must formulate separate rules and user agreements to protect children's personal information and designate a dedicated person to oversee the protection of such information.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and nine other authorities recently published the Guiding Opinions on Strengthening Industrial Internet Safety in the context of establishing China's industrial internet security guarantee system. According to the opinions, the industrial internet security guarantee system should be established by the end of 2020 and be a sound and reliable mechanism by 2025.
The Cyberspace Administration of China recently released the Cybersecurity Review Measures (Draft for Comment). According to the draft, where an operator of critical information infrastructure purchases a network product or service, it must make an ex ante assessment of the potential security risks that could emerge once the product or service is put into operation and produce a security report accordingly.
The Cyberspace Administration of China recently issued the Administrative Measures for Data Security (Draft for Comment), which include rules on the collection, storage, transfer, processing and use of data in China via websites, as well as data protection and management. Among other things, the draft measures encourage network operators that collect personal information through websites, apps and other products to formulate specific rules regarding the collection and use of such information.
The Cyberspace Administration of China recently held a public consultation on the Provisions on the Cyber Protection of Personal Information of Children (Draft for Comment). The draft provisions set out a number of recommendations for network operators, including formulating special rules to protect children's personal information and user agreements and employing a personal information protection specialist or designating personnel to oversee the protection of children's personal information.
Following the Chinese Central TV Station's (CCTV's) broadcast of the 3.15 programme in 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology decided to crack down on telephone harassment and strengthen the protection of personal information in the telecoms and internet sectors. The CCTV will broadcast 3.15 on 15 March each year in order to reveal company activities which infringe consumer rights and interests.
The Shanghai Consumer Council recently released the results of its assessment of 39 apps, which aimed to evaluate the level of access that they had to users' personal information. The assessment revealed that 25 apps had been over collecting users' personal information and that only 14 apps had actual service-related reasons justifying their collection of sensitive personal information.
The Shenzhen Municipality Justice Bureau recently issued draft regulations on the administration of public security video and image systems for public comment. The draft regulations aim to protect public privacy and strengthen internet information security and information sharing by prohibiting the installation of video and image recording systems in certain locations which concern public privacy. Individuals and entities which fail to comply with the regulations will be subject to fines.
The State Administration for Market Regulation recently issued a notification which aims to encourage local market regulatory departments to crack down on false and unlawful online advertising and create a positive market environment for online ads. According to the notification, local market regulatory authorities will investigate and severely penalise unlawful online ads which concern, among other things, politically sensitive, vulgar or socially influential issues.
A Guangdong province public security bureau recently fined an individual for using virtual private network (VPN) software to evade Chinese internet censorship in accordance with the Interim Provisions of the People's Republic of China governing the International Interconnection of Computer-Based Information Networks. Although the provisions were enacted in 1996, this is reportedly the first time that an individual has been punished for using VPN software to evade internet censorship.
The Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration for Market Regulation recently announced that they had launched a campaign to stop apps from unlawfully collecting and processing personal data. The announcement sets out the obligations of various parties with regard to the collection and processing of personal data, including app operators, associations, authorities and public security organs.
The National Information Security Standardisation Technical Committee recently published the draft Information Security Technology – Personal Information Security Specifications for public comment. Among other amendments, the draft has revised the exceptions regarding authorisation and consent by personal information subjects, introduced rules concerning the merger of personal information and promoted the importance of data protection officers and departments.
The Cybersecurity Bureau of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently released its checking results for seven inspected telecom enterprises and required them to rectify the loopholes and vulnerabilities of their networks or systems as notified. The inspected telecom enterprises were found to have had a number of major issues, including medium and high-risk loopholes in their business systems and equipment (including their official websites).
The Ministry of Public Security recently released the Guideline for Internet Personal Information Security Protection (Draft for Comment) to solicit public opinions. The guideline requires that personal information holders implement a series of security protection measures. Among others, these include a management mechanism, which involves building firewalls to protect enterprises from criminal risks, and technical measures to ensure that network operations are secure for internet inspection purposes.
The Cyberspace Administration of China recently issued the Administrative Regulations on the Provision of Financial Information Services. Under the regulations, parties must obtain the corresponding permits before they can provide various financial information services. Further, service providers must establish service specifications regarding information content auditing, data retention, information security and personal information and IP protection.
The National Health Commission recently released the Circular regarding Issuing National Health Medical Big Data Standards, Safety and Service Management Measures (For Trial Implementation). The circular provides guidelines regarding the standards and security of Big Data in the healthcare industry, as well as service management measures. As the circular is considered to mark the Cybersecurity Law's implementation in the healthcare industry, most of its security measures are derived from the law.
In one of the Guangdong province's top 10 internet cases of 2017, the court found that Apple IDs constitute personal information which may affect other parties' personal and property safety. As such, the two defendants concerned were convicted of infringing citizens' personal data rights after more than 1,200 pieces of personal information were found on their computers. This decision is believed to have had a demonstrable effect on the handling of similar cases.
The Ministry of Public Security recently released the Provisions on the Supervision and Inspection of Internet Security by Public Security Organs. According to the provisions, public security organs must supervise and inspect internet service providers and network entity users that provide a range of internet-related services. They also list certain powers that public security organs may use when supervising and inspecting internet security on-site.
The National Information Security Standardisation Technical Committee recently held a meeting to commence the pilot work on the Information Security Technology – Guidelines for Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) Security Examination Assessment (For Approval). The pilot work will focus on the reasonability and practicability of the guidelines. Twelve CII operators from the telecoms, internet, transportation, energy, finance, e-government and public services industries have been selected as pilot units.
The Shanghai Communications Administration (SHCA) recently criticised four telecoms and internet companies for failing to improve their network security monitoring and forecasting systems and report important matters to the SHCA. The SHCA ordered the companies to rectify these failings and emphasised that telecoms and internet companies have a number of obligations in order to ensure the security and stability of Shanghai's public networks.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently released its Notification on the Network Security Inspection of the Telecom and Internet Industry in 2018. According to the notification, the inspection will cover the networks and systems established and operated by, among other players, internet enterprises and domain name registration administration and service organisations licensed by telecoms regulators.
The Ministry of Public Security recently launched a nationwide security inspection and correction campaign regarding Big Data applications in China. This campaign is one of a series of network security inspection projects which target key information systems, critical information infrastructure and Big Data. The Big Data campaign focuses on the level of supervision, security and protection afforded in the collection, storage, application, transfer and destruction of such data.
The General Office of the State Council recently issued the Measures for the Management of Scientific Data, which aim to improve and standardise the management of scientific data, safeguard scientific data security and encourage transparency and the sharing of scientific data. This is the first time that China has released measures which regulate scientific data at the national level. However, compared with some European countries and the United States, China still has far to go in this regard.