The media controversy surrounding China's coronavirus COVID-19 detection app, the "close contact detector," has highlighted a common misapprehension about how data protection law is universally applied around the world.

Reports have suggested that the app might be highly contentious elsewhere in the world. The reality is that, in China and other parts of Asia, this is seen as an example of data being used as a force for good.

Privacy law in Asia is driven by commercial and practical considerations. The laws here have been designed to stop the worst abuses of data in a region where governments support data-driven innovation, and where a young digital population relies on – and expects – efficient and personalised services powered by data analytics and AI.

Indeed, data privacy compliance frameworks in Asia can help to show how else governments' and private businesses' ever-growing data sets can be used, and for what purpose. This is especially in difficult situations like the current global health emergency, to identify how that data can be analysed and deployed to support national and global relief efforts.

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