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Personal data guidelines to be released

By Tuo Yannan and Zhao Yinan  (China Daily)

08:17, April 06, 2012

Businesses will get instructions on how to collect online information

Guidelines will be released this year instructing businesses to collect personal information only when absolutely necessary and to delete it immediately after use.

The non-binding guidelines, designed to protect online personal data, are pending final approval from the State Council. The draft was approved by the National Information Security Standard Technology Committee on Dec 30, the China Software Testing Center told China Daily on Thursday.

The center is a research institution affiliated to the top industry regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

"The committee passed the third draft of the guidelines last year," said Gao Chiyang, deputy director of the center. "They will be released this year."

Private information includes identity, property interests, family data, e-mails, browser history and search behavior, said Qi Xiangdong, president of Qihoo 360 Technology Co, an online security software maker.

China's Internet population has hit 513 million, the largest in the world, according to a China Internet Network Information Center report in January.

Although the guidelines are not compulsory, Gao said he hoped they will help raise awareness of online privacy and eventually pave the way for a comprehensive law to be adopted to protect personal information.

"Under the guidelines, data will only be collected for necessary use with consent, and the data should be deleted in a timely manner to avoid abuse," Gao said.

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