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Checks on Algorithm-usage to Better Internet Services and Data Protection in China

To foster healthy and orderly development of the industry, Chinese regulators will strengthen the management of algorithms related to internet information services. According to new guidelines issued by nine ministries or departments including the Cyberspace Administration of China, a three-year campaign will seek to put in place a sound management mechanism and supervision system, and a standardised algorithm ecosystem.

The guidelines urged enterprises to strengthen their sense of responsibility and set up responsibility systems for algorithm security and sci-tech ethical review systems. Algorithm recommendation service providers should also allow users to select or modify their individual tags used for recommending services.

Legal violations and malpractices related to algorithms will be severely punished, the guidelines stipulated. The guidelines also demanded efforts to prevent the abuse of algorithms, prohibiting activities that use them to tamper with public opinion, attack competitors and infringe upon the rights and interests of internet users.

China also passed the Personal Information Protection Law to further regulate cyberspace. The law will come into force on November 1, serving as the first on the Chinese mainland solely dedicated to personal data protection.

The new law on personal data protection is the first in the Chinese mainland solely dedicated to the issue. The Personal Information Protection Law stipulates that the processing of personal information shall be carried out legally and with due process. Buying, selling, and revealing other people’s personal information without their consent are now illegal.

The hundreds of millions of people in China who enjoy the benefits of digitisation may be unaware that their personal information may have been compromised in the course of using online and offline services. But with the Chinese mainland’s first Personal Information Protection Law coming into force in November, along with the existing regulations, ordinary citizens can now ensure that their data remains private.

The new law is expected to help consumers raise awareness of their rights to the security of their personal data. It will also help them say no to the illegal processing of their information. Even people without legal expertise can report their cases or file complaints through dedicated channels to reach authorities for further inspections. With tougher and clearer regulations coming into effect, companies in this sector will likely exercise more caution and restraint when gathering customer information.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, China has also passed regulations on cybersecurity. Measures including monitoring, defence, and proper handling of cybersecurity risks and threats from both home and overseas will be carried out to ensure that relevant facilities are protected from attacks, intrusions, interference and sabotage. The regulation came as the country’s major IT infrastructure faces severe security challenges including frequent cyberattacks.

Measures including monitoring, defence, and proper handling of cybersecurity risks and threats from both home and overseas will be carried out to ensure that relevant facilities are protected from attacks, intrusions, interference and sabotage. The regulation came as the country’s major IT infrastructure faces severe security challenges including frequent cyberattacks.z

The regulation also called on operators of major IT infrastructure projects to bear their primary responsibility of maintaining the integrity, confidentiality and availability of relevant data. Requirements for these operators include conducting security checks and risk assessments every year and prioritising safe and creditable internet products and services in procurement.

An academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering believes that the latest moves highlight strengthened governance in cyberspace. He, however, stressed that regulation does not mean discarding the development. It is about attaching equal importance to both sides. Strengthened governance will provide a healthier environment for the development of the internet sector, calling for greater emphasis on national security and protection of users’ rights in the process.

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