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The world is realizing the importance of the need for data protection. More and more countries are drafting comprehensive legal frameworks that protect individuals' data online. We see this in countries such as the USA with CCPA and in the EU with GDPR . In June 2017, China followed suit and drafted its own Cybersecurity Law to safeguard the data rights of consumers in China. The law is formulated to offer the following benefits:
Let's look further into this privacy regulation.
The Cybersecurity Law provides data subjects/consumers (users) with the following rights :
The following are the major principles of processing personal information under the China Cybersecurity law:
Under Article 2, the law applies to networks established, operated, maintained and used within the territory of the People’s Republic of China as well as to the supervision and management practices concerning network security. This includes public and private entities. Under the law, it is not stated that there is any extraterritorial scope, although, in an associated regulation, Measures for Security Assessment of Cross-border Transfer of Personal Data, overseas entities which collect personal data within China's territory must appoint a legal representative or organization that fulfills the responsibilities and obligations of network operators defined in the law.
It is still unclear on how this clause will be enforced, given the ambiguity in the new Cybersecurity law of China. But it is similar to how the GDPR applies extraterritorially.
The Cybersecurity Law imposes several important cybersecurity obligations on network operators, with some of the major ones being:
Critical information infrastructure operators must ensure that personal information of customers is stored within Mainland China. If it must be transferred outside the mainland due to business necessity, the network operator must conduct a security assessment in accordance with the measures jointly defined by China’s cyberspace administration bodies and the relevant departments under the State Council.
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Given the expanded definition of the term ‘personal information’ and the tight time frame provided to businesses to respond to privacy disclosure, access and deletion requests, and other requirements, complying with the China Cybersecurity law can be very labor intensive and costly.
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China Cybersecurity law imposes a number of penalties on network operators based on violation. These violators are given warnings and orders to rectification. Repeat offenses can result in the following:
Violators can even be charged with criminal penalties based on the seriousness of non-compliance.
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