Asian Data Privacy Updates
China's Personal Information Protection Law Proposal was submitted to the State Council in 2008, which was followed by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's non-binding Internet Information Services Market Order Provisions of 2011. However, little direct progress was made until the standing committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) introduced its Decision on Strengthening Internet Information Protection (the Decision) on December 28, 2012. Echoing Directive 95/46/EC in the EU by stipulating that the collection and use of information will be "legitimate, proper, and necessary," the Decision seeks to protect network information security; the lawful interest of citizens, legal persons, and other organizations; and safeguard China's security and social order through its Articles.
The Decision's first Article states that "[n]o organization or individual may steal or obtain in other illegal manners [ ] citizens' individual electronic information, sell or illegally provide citizens' individual electronic information to other persons." Instruction to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) continues, where providers must, among other activities:
Clearly indicate the purposes, methods, and scope of collection and use of citizens' data; Obtain agreement from citizens before collecting their data; Publicize rules for the collection and use of personal data; Preserve the secrecy of collected data; Not divulge, distort, or damage the data; Refrain from selling or otherwise illegally providing the data to others; and Adopt technical measures and other methods to ensure information security and prevent damage to or loss of the data. Among the provisions of the Decision is Article Six, specifically directed at network service providers, whereby users of the services must "provide real identity information" prior to "website access," "fixed telephone, mobile telephone," "other surfing formalities," or "information publication services." In response to criticism that Article Six would be used to discourage whistleblowers and other Chinese dissention, the government-sponsored Xinhua News Agency argued that the Decision "will help, rather than harm, the country's netizens."
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