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China to enforce first privacy protection standard


17:30, January 21, 2013

BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Anonymous messages, strange calls and spam may stop harassing Chinese residents, as a national standard on personal information protection will become effective on Feb. 1.

According to the non-obligatory guideline, information collectors should obtain permission before collecting and using a person's sensitive private information, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on Monday.

The guideline, which was published in November 2012, is the first of its kind in the country.

With the wide application of information technology and booming use of the Internet, the leaking of private information such as phone numbers and purchase records, often for commercial purposes, has increasingly aroused public anger and concern in China.

The guideline, which groups personal information into general and sensitive categories, allows collectors to obtain general information as long as a person shows no objection, and gain sensitive information after being authorized by the person.

Information collectors should have specific and clear purposes as well as sound reasons when processing personal information, and delete the information once its intended use has been fulfilled, according to the guideline.

It also states eight basic principles for personal information protection, including that collectors should obtain no more information than is enough to fulfill their purposes.

An alliance will be established to help develop self-discipline on personal information protection among enterprises, the MIIT said.

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