China orders apps to cease illegal data gathering

China orders apps to cease illegal data gathering

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has threatened the developers of 33 mobile apps with penalties unless they cease the practice of collecting data without user consent.

The developers – among them Baidu, iFlytek, Tencent and Sogou – have been granted ten days to implement the necessary changes to their apps to bring them in line with data privacy regulations.

The apps in question include just one messaging app, 17 map apps and 15 text-input apps. The CAC took action after user complaints accusing the apps of forcing them to approve the collection of data well outside the remit of the service provided.

In response to the complaints, the CAC has implemented new regulations outlining the extent of the personal information that apps are allowed to collect. The new rules came into force on 1st May.

China has been taking a harder line on data privacy since late last year. In November 2020, the country’s government blocked Alibaba’s finance unit Ant Group from listing on the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges over concerns relating to the increased market sway of tech firms.

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