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.
While the new Civil Code largely restates the existing Chinese laws on privacy and personal information protection, it applies these laws more broadly and makes it easier for individuals to take civil action in relation to breaches. As such, privacy and personal information protection laws are likely to be enforced more often and more broadly in China from 2021 onwards. Companies that process personal information in China should ensure that their existing privacy practices comply with the new Civil Code.
Despite the tortuous path ahead for the US election campaigns and the trials and tribulations of 2020, the US-China Phase One Trade Deal remains in place. As China begins to further open its financial market, foreign insurance institutions (FIIs) may be wondering whether non-US FIIs have any chance of benefiting from China's treatment of US insurers. If only US insurers benefit, would that be a Global Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) violation or would it be GATS compliant?
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 rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected business operations worldwide. For many companies, business interruption (BI) as a result of the pandemic is one of the greatest operational risks of 2020. Although many companies are insured against BI, their coverage may not extend as far as they believe. For example, compensation under a BI policy is often based on the condition that damage to property has occurred. This article sheds some light on this rule.
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.
Alongside increased administrative action, Chinese companies increasingly bring private antitrust actions against rival companies, particularly in the technology sphere. These suits are often accompanied by an administrative complaint that can lead to investigations and penalties. This article clarifies China's hybrid antitrust system in order to better understand the antitrust risks facing foreign enterprises in China.
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').
It is no secret that China's insurance industry presents good upside growth opportunities and China's insurtech market continues to grow rapidly. Foreign insurers are currently underrepresented in this market, even as former market barriers to entry continue to fall. This market presents great potential for foreign insurers, and Western insurers in particular have centuries of experience to share with their Chinese counterparts.
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.
China's merger review practice has not been negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. According to public statistics, in the first quarter of 2020 the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) completed 111 filing reviews, with a slight year-on-year growth of 0.9%. The current economic downturn raises the question of whether the SAMR will relax its antitrust scrutiny to encourage M&A activity. However, recent merger review practice in China suggests that this has not been the case in the semiconductor sector.
In early 2020, the Luckin Coffee scandal drew attention from the insurance, legal and security industries and turned the spotlight on directors' and officers' (D&O) liability insurance policies in China. With the developing pace of the security and insurance markets, the refreshed focus on D&O insurance gives Chinese underwriters plenty to contemplate.
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 year 2019 marked the 11th anniversary of the implementation of the Anti-monopoly Law and was also the first full calendar year since the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) became China's single centralised antitrust enforcement agency. Evidently. the SAMR has become more stringent and detail oriented with respect to the analysis of relevant markets and the competition impact of mergers.