MIIT pledges to tighten regulations on data collection, unfair competition in apps
Published: Apr 21, 2021 02:37 AM
Mobile app Illustration: VCG

Mobile app Illustration: VCG

China will tighten regulations regarding unfair competition among mobile apps, and will release an array of policies supervising data collection and privacy protection in China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on Tuesday. 

According to the MIIT, three related policies will be formulated to provide a regulatory framework for the regulation of data collection. In addition, illegal behavior that sabotages fair market competition – such as malicious software shielding, forced bundling between apps and traffic hijacking in apps – will be targeted. 

So far, the MIIT has assessed around 290,000 apps, according to Zhao Zhiguo, spokesperson for the ministry. It has also required 1,862 apps to make adjustments based on the assessment results, and taken down 107 apps that refused to do so. 

Zhao said apps that serve as tools or for communication purposes are being especially scrutinized. Any apps that mislead users over downloads or that use pop-up information that is hard to close will be targeted, as will apps that illegally share user information. 

China’s regulatory authorities have been tightening up the chaotic app market. In March, China issued a new regulation to clarify the scope of collecting necessary personal information for 39 types of commonly used apps.

The 39 apps include navigation, online ride-hailing, instant messaging and online shopping apps. According to the regulation jointly issued by the State Administration for Market Regulation and three other government agencies, 13 out of the 39 apps, including live streaming apps, should not require personal information.

The regulation aims to standardize apps' forcible collection of personal information and to protect people's personal information security, according to a statement on the website of the Cyberspace Administration of China.