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Lawmaker, advisor urge for better protection of personal information
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10:21, March 04, 2009

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Chinese lawmakers and political advisors have called for legislation for comprehensive protection of citizens' personal information.

Their call came just days after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, approved a criminal law amendment banning government and corporate employees with access to personal data to sell or leak such information.

But for some lawmakers and political advisors, the amendment is not quite enough.

Xu Long, an entrepreneur-turned deputy to the NPC, urged for a privacy protection law which would appoint a specialized administration responsible for personal information safety.

The privacy protection law should also specify compensation for damage caused by personal information leakage, Xu said.

Lack of regulation to protect personal information had led to widespread harassment in China.

An online survey conducted last year showed nearly 89 percent of the 2,422 people polled claimed they had suffered because personal information had been leaked.

Anonymous messages, phone calls and spam were listed as the most reported means of harassment after personal information was made known to unauthorized agencies and individuals, according to the survey.

Zhu Zhengfu, a lawyer from the southern province of Guangdong and also a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body, backed Xu's call by telling of his own experience of being a victim to leakage of personal information.

"I registered some of my personal information a couple of years ago when I purchased a car and bought insurances for it," Zhu said.

"Ever since then, every year when the insurances near expiration, I would receive dozens of calls trying to sell me insurances, and they knew everything about my car model, my plate number, even my address," he said.

The criminal law amendment did not clearly define "personal information", which could cover a wide range of concepts, Zhu said.

A privacy protection law, or a legal explanation to clearly define the concept of personal information is our top priority here, he said.

Source: Xinhua

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