Effective March 15, 2015, China's State Administration for
Industry and Commerce (SAIC) will implement the new Measures for
Penalties for Infringing upon the Rights and Interests of Consumers
(Measures). The Measures clarify obligations with respect to
corporate handling of personal data, define for the first time what
constitutes personal consumer information and demonstrate
China's continued intensified focus on personal data
protection. Adoption of the Measures will repeal the Measures
for Penalties Against Conduct Defrauding Consumers first
promulgated by the SAIC in 1996.
Formulated "to prevent infringement upon consumer rights
and interests in accordance with law, protect the lawful rights and
interests of consumers, and maintain the socialist economic
order," the Measures provide new guidelines relating to
business operators' handling of personal data. Generally,
Article 11 of the Measures compels business operators that collect
or use personal information of consumers to "follow the
principles of legality, appropriateness, and necessity" and
requires that they "clearly state the purpose, manner, and
scope for collecting and using the information."
Specifically, business owners are explicitly prohibited from
collecting and using consumers' personal information without
consent; leaking, selling or illegally providing to others
collected personal information of consumers; and sending commercial
information to a consumer without consent or request from the
consumer, or after objection from the consumer.
Further, Article 11 defines "personal information of
a consumer's name, gender, occupation, date of birth,
identification document number, residential address, contact
information, status of income and assets, health status,
consumption habits, and other information collected by business
operators during their provision of goods and services that may
independently or in combination with other information identify the
The Measures are formulated in accordance with the existing Law
of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of the
Rights and Interests of Consumers (Consumer Rights Law), issued by
the SAIC in 2014, which regulates the protection of consumers'
rights and interests in relation to the purchase and use of
commodities and receipt of services for daily consumption.
Unlike the Measures, however, the Consumer Rights Law does not
define what constitutes personal consumer information.
Business owners that violate Article 11 of the Measures are
subject to the penalties outlined in Article 56 of the Consumer
Rights Law, which include civil liabilities, administrative
corrections or warnings, confiscation of unlawful gains, monetary
fines (between one and 10 times the illegal income or up to RMB
500,000), suspension of business and revocation of business
licenses. The violations and resulting penalties also will be
recorded into the credit files and disclosed to the public.
The Measures represent the first time that China has
specifically defined what data constitutes personal consumer
information. As a result, business entities will have greater
certainty about what particular information will be subject to
regulatory oversight by Chinese authorities. It is important
for China-based and multinational companies to work with China
counsel on these efforts, because they are best positioned to
understand the immediate and long-term implications of the new
Measures. Moreover, China counsel can guide companies in
anticipating, designing and implementing the internal data
protection policies and procedures necessary to comply with the
On 12 August 2016, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the General Administration of Quality Supervision, the Inspection and Quarantine of China (GAQSIQ), and the Standardisation Administration of China (SAC) jointly released Several Guidelines to Strengthen National Cybersecurity Standardisation (the "Guidelines").
As of July 1, 2016, OAIC resumed the investigation of complaints involving agency actions relating to the handling of Freedom of Information ("FOI") matters.
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