On 1 November, China’s first Personal Information Protection Law came into force. The new law gives a specific definition of “sensitive personal information”, which includes biometric information, medical and health records, religious beliefs, financial accounts, etc.
This new law covers rules for the processing and cross-border transmitting of personal information, and the corresponding penalties for violation, as China begins its journey into privacy and data.
With heated discussion about online privacy in China, the new law comes right on time. One of the main concerns amongst Chinese people is the profiteering on big data, online platforms use the algorithm to offer higher prices to existing customers.
Regarding this issue, the information protection law stipulates that companies shall not impose any unreasonable differential treatment in terms of prices and transactional conditions.
Those who break the law may face a penalty of 50 million RMB ($7.8 million) or 5% of the previous year’s revenue; whilst the responsible individuals for such misconduct may face a fine of up to 1 million RMB ($156,000) and a ban from taking other senior or relevant positions. These personal and commercial penalties are vital in making sure these new privacy laws are upheld, showcasing China’s strong intent for effective solutions.
In terms of personal social media feeds, the new law requires companies to provide users with preferences not specific to their personal features and with an easy opt-out mechanism. Any sensitive information needed to be processed must get consent from the consumers first, otherwise, the platforms will face suspension or close. It will be interesting to see how these new regulations will change social media as we know it within China currently.
Overall, this is a bold and necessary step taken by the Chinese government, highlighting their understanding of the need to protect its citizens and their private data.
With this move, China also opens itself up more to international companies, countries, and people, who will welcome the increased safety and measures. China’s new policy is shrewd domestically and internationally, protecting its own people and serving the chance for wider economic growth for the country and its companies.