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Nine in ten Chinese want law to protect personal information enacted soon
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10:21, November 20, 2007

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Almost 90 percent Chinese Internet users have called for the earliest possible enactment of a law to protect personal information from unauthorized dissemination, the People's Daily reported on Monday.

An on-line survey, jointly conducted by the People's Daily and www.people.com.cn since Nov. 15, received 9,285 responses to the question on how to stop the widespread disclosure of personal data in China.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents chose the option of a law on data protection to be enacted as soon as possible; seven percent said individuals should strengthen their own protection; and just four percent said the status quo should remain and people should adapt to "reality".

Last week, the People's Daily reported the www.gumin88.cn website was "illegally" selling the data of millions of stockholders for up to 5,000 yuan (672.6 U.S. dollars) for one package, including the individuals' details, including name, gender, home address, post code, fixed line and mobile phone number.

The website was not licensed by the Ministry of Information Industry, the paper said.

Many Chinese have begun to buy and sell stock in the bullish stock market. One stockholder, surnamed Guo, complained to the paper he received constant phone calls about stock recommendations from strangers.

"Since last year, I have received several annoying calls a day and when I asked them how they acquired my phone numbers, they said they had their own channels," Guo said.

New home and car owners, and even parents of newborn babies, have received unwanted calls or short text messages promoting various products.

The government began drafting a law on personal information protection in 2003 and the draft law by experts from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) was submitted to the State Council in 2005.

The draft is still under discussion, according to the State Council.

CASS researcher Zhou Hanhua, who was in charge of the draft, said the new law on personal information would make dealers of personal data liable to civil and criminal legal action.

Zhou said personal information, including phone numbers, home addresses, medical files, would be protected under the draft law.

Source: Xinhua

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