In what could be seen as a necessary brake on the power of tech giants to intrude on the personal lives of app users or a potential further encroachment by the state on businesses, China has proposed new regulations on the use of apps by companies.
In fact a number of China's top regulators this week published draft guidelines dictating how apps must protect the privacy and personal information of users.
According to these proposals, apps will need to let users know what personal information will be collected and for what purpose. The guidelines also aim to ensure that apps do not collect users' personal information without first obtaining consent.
In addition, according to Reuters, the guidelines suggest that when apps are processing sensitive personal information such as race, ethnicity, religious belief, personal biometrics, medical health, financial accounts and personal whereabouts, users should receive a separate notification.
But that’s not all. Apps will not be permitted to collect more than a minimum amount of information, which should be relevant to the app’s main purpose.
There will also be instructions to app distribution platforms to better police app developers, to avoid tricking users into downloading certain apps, and to carry out standardized reviews of personal information processing activities on the launch of new apps. Credit scores for app developers and complaints handling procedures could also be mandated.
Of course these regulations are not law at the moment. Interested parties can comment until 26 May.