China pulls up Microsoft, TikTok, and others for ‘improperly collecting user data’: Chinese internet and user data regulatory authority gives 15-day notice

China User Data
China accuses tech giants of excessive data collection practices. Pic credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

China has accused several international and national companies of excessively collecting personal data from Chinese users. The Chinese internet regulatory watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), has granted a 15-day window to companies to get rein in their data collection practices.

The Chinese government has accused a total of 105 apps and services of violating China’s new Personal Information Protection Law. Such platforms must address their user data collection methods or face a steep fine, cautioned the CAC.

Chinese internet regulatory authority accuses multiple international companies of collecting excessive user data:

Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s internet regulatory watchdog, has claimed several companies engage in unauthorized personal data collection. Some of the notable mentions include TikTok, LinkedIn, Kuaishou, Microsoft’s Bing, and Kugou.

The CAC has posted an official statement on its official WeChat account. The regulator said that complaints from users prompted an investigation into the data collection activities of several apps.

After completing the investigation, the CAC concluded that 105 apps have “violated extant privacy laws by collecting excessive personal information through illegal access”. The CAC has granted the owners of the 105 apps 15 days to address the concerns about data collection practices.

The ruling appears to be the result of stricter regulations pertaining to monitoring and controls for the “public’s overall safety”. However, some experts claim it is ironic that China is accusing apps, web services, and internet-based companies of collecting excessive user data without user consent.

China targeting national and international companies for inappropriate data collection practices:

China recently legalized several new rules concerning cyberspace and the internet. The country has always had a rather strict approach with international companies. However, the crackdown on local or regional internet giants is surprising.

The Chinese government has pulled up major regional companies such as Alibaba and Tencent. The country even fined these Chinese tech giants for “breaching the rules governing their operations and anti-monopoly laws.”

The current investigation concluded that app providers were collecting excessive user data unrelated to the app’s core services and forcing users into giving uninformed consent to how their data are used.

Alibaba may have to pay 18.2 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) for monopolistic behavior. Meanwhile, reports suggest the government indirectly pressured ByteDance’s CEO to resign. If the accused companies, which includes Microsoft and TikTok, fail to comply, they could be fined up to 5 percent of their revenue.

It seems the Chinese government is keen to bolster consumer confidence in the system and administration. Hence, it is supposedly taking stringent steps to protect user rights, data, and privacy from smartphone apps and services.

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