The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is drafting regulations on protecting personal information in mobile applications to clarify the bottom line and redlines, as reported by Xinhua on February 8. The regulations clarify two basic principles. One is that users should be informed of the personal information processing rules clearly and understandably. The other principle prohibits applications from accessing personal information that exceed the scope of user consent or that are not related to the service scenario. The ministry will focus on solving hot issues, such as abusing mobile microphone authority, reading and writing albums without users’ consent, and excessively requesting to access users’ address book.
At present, Chinese authorities are making great efforts to deal with the violation of personal information by mobile applications. In July 2020, the Central Cyberspace Administration, MIIT, the Ministry of Public Security, and the State Administration for Market Regulation launched the governance of applications that illegally collect and use personal information. By December 2020, 520,000 apps had been technically tested. Among them, 1,571 apps that violated regulations had been ordered to rectify, 500 apps had been publicly notified, and 120 apps that refused to rectify had been removed from app stores.
Liu Liehong, Deputy Minister of MIIT, noted that the ministry will continue to enhance technological governance by using emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data. He also said that MIIT will continue optimizing and upgrading its technology platform by integrating the technical testing capabilities of leading companies. The platform is expected to have the ability to test 1.8m apps at the end of this year to provide strong support for mobile app supervision.