New internet laws to spotlight privacy

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/20 22:28:40 Last Updated: 2018/4/21 1:01:33

Rules designed to spur online advances for the people

China will draft more laws and regulations governing the internet in order to safeguard national security and better protect the rights of its more than 700 million internet users in the country, experts said.

Over the next three years, China is expected to draft laws on the protection of personal data and net users' legal rights. New laws are also expected to clarify the legal use of big data and offences relating to cyber crime, Zhu Wei, a professor from the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.

Since 2016, China has enacted some 18 laws and regulations related to internet administration, including the Cyber Security Law and regulations covering online advertising, publications, financing, payment, news services and internet-based sharing economy.

In its latest move, China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism has inspected more than 4,900 livestreaming apps and removed 370 online performance platforms, China Youth Daily reported Tuesday.

China's internet environment is now better "regulated and purified" after tough law enforcement, and the momentum will continue in the future, said Zhu, who also participated in drafting several regulations, including one on the management of livestreaming services.

Chinese police have detained more than 11,000 suspects in over 3,700 cases during the past two years for alleged misuse of citizens' personal information, the Xinhua News Agency reported in December 2017.

It's praiseworthy that there are more interactions between policy-makers and the regulated parties, said Zhu, pointing to a number of seminars between cyberspace authorities and internet companies.

The interactions help regulators come up with more efficient and targeted policies without stalling industry development, said experts.

Internet legislation enacted over the past two years mainly focused on cyber security, but that focus is expected to shift to the protection of users' privacy and rights, Wang Sixin, a professor of media law at the Communication University of China, told the Global Times on Friday.

More detailed regulations on cyber security will also be put forward, such as cross-border data transmission and online censorship, which will further clarify operational requirements for foreign internet businesses such as Facebook and Twitter, said Wang.

For the people

As a country that has over 700 million internet users, China stressed that cyberspace development should adhere to a people-centered development philosophy.

Currently, Chinese citizens can book medical and legal services online, pay traffic tickets and utility bills via apps and finish administrative formalities via government websites.

Online and mobile payments have become a part of everyday life in China.

According to an article released Friday by the Cyberspace Administration of China, there are around 32,000 government websites and over 6,000 WeChat accounts run by government departments.

With more access to government information, the public can better participate in social governance and supervise the work of local authorities, Wang noted.

As Internet Plus has become a national strategy, central and local governments are also targeting big data and the internet in its poverty-alleviation drive.

China will expand online services to rural areas, according to a plan released by the central government in October 2017.

The plan will help farmers increase the sale of agricultural products, provide high-quality education services. It also proposes that an information service system for the poor be established by 2020.

Big data offers precise information on which products are more popular in which regions and among which kind of consumers, which could help remote regions maximize sales and profits, said Zhu.

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