China launches new tool to help apps spot privacy flaws

By Wei Sheng
1 min read
A hacker in a hood hacks a smartphone. (Image credit: BigStock/Marko Aliaksandr)

China’s authorities brought out an online privacy compliance assessment tool on Tuesday, the country’s latest move to strengthen the protection of personal information.

Why it matters: China has stepped up its efforts to combat the misuse of personal info since the turn of the year as the internet sector remains hungry for users’ data.

  • Nearly one-third of the 1,300 cases reported to the country’s internet watchdog between January and April relate to the collection of data without specific consent.
  • Another 20% of the cases are related to apps gathering information irrelevant to their businesses, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China.

Details: The tool offers free online services including corporate privacy policy assessment for mobile apps and self-assessment for personal information protection compliance, state-run Xinhua reported.

  • The tool was developed by the China Electronics Standardization Institute, part of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
  • It is based on relevant laws, regulations, and standards on personal information protection, Xinhua reported a source from the institute as saying.

Context: The CAC launched a year-long crackdown in January to combat non-compliant and illegal data collection and processing, such as requiring authorization for use and unauthorized access to private data.

  • A special administration working group dedicated to apps has been set up by China’s National Information Security Standardization Technical Committee and the Internet Society of China.
  • The CAC introduced new data security regulations on May 28 stating that customized content using recommendation algorithms driven by personal information, including news feeds and advertising, should be explicitly labeled.