According to the Criminal Law and the Cyber Security Law, personal data of a citizen means any information recorded by electronic or other means, which either alone or jointly with other information identifies or reflects the activities of a particular natural person. Given the significant commercial value that can be achieved by using personal data to place advertisements precisely, unauthorized access to personal data has become rampant in recent years, causing undue disturbance to peoples’ life or affairs, and, not infrequently, unlawful damage to those with less social experience.
Q: How is personal data protected through legislation in China, given the significant damage that may arise out of unauthorized access to personal data?
A: The Cyber Security Law and the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, among other laws, require that ex-ante and in-process measures must be taken to protect personal data. Specific obligations of parties involved are defined in the Cyber Security Law with the aim of preventing personal data of citizens from unauthorized access, disclosure or use. The General Principles of the Civil Law, the Tort Liability Law, the Ninth Amendment to the Criminal Law and many other laws, regulations and rules provide the legal basis for holding parties concerned civilly and criminally liable.
In view of the fact that nowadays personal data are mostly collected and disclosed through the internet, China has introduced some laws and regulations governing internet platforms, players and service providers to regulate relevant activities properly. These include, but are not limited to, the Cyber Security Law, the Regulations on Protecting Personal Data of Telecommunications and Internet Users, and the Measures for the Administration of Internet E-mail Services. However, given the number of laws, regulations, authorities and agencies involved in personal data protection, further regulations concerning collaboration and the division of labour and duties are needed.
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Cheng Bing and Zhao Qian are attorneys at AnJie Law Firm
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