China ministry orders 38 apps to rectify excessive collection of personal data

The CCTV headquarters in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: A woman holding a mobile phone walks past the CCTV headquarters, the home of Chinese state media outlet CCTV and its English-language sister channel CGTN, in Beijing, China February 5, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

November 3, 2021

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s government on Wednesday ordered 38 apps from a number of companies including social media giant Tencent Corp to rectify what it called the excessive collection of personal information.

The order marks the latest move in a continuing regulatory crackdown in China across a range of sectors, and arrives days after China’s Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), a sweeping ordinance dictating online privacy practices, went into full effect.

In a statement posted on a social media account of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the regulator found that the apps in question collected unnecessary personal information. It ordered the apps to rectify their practices before November 9 or face administrative penalties.

The apps listed included a news app and music streaming app from Tencent, as well as the beauty-oriented social network Xiaohongshu. Tencent and Xiaohongshu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China’s implementation of its privacy law arrives amid increasing public scrutiny about privacy and data collection from large tech companies. The law complements the Data Security Law, a framework for how companies store and classify data, which also went into effect this year.

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz, Editing by Louise Heavens, William Maclean)