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China Mobile fined for preventing court from seeing dead user’s call log

(People's Daily Online)    17:18, August 04, 2017

(File photo)

A local branch of China Mobile has been fined 500,000 yuan after it denied access to a user’s call log despite a local court order, triggering public debate on jurisdiction over personal privacy.

The company in Lichuan, central China’s Hubei province, was ordered to pay a penalty on Aug. 1, according to a public announcement. The court explained that it ordered the China Mobile branch to check a user’s call log, as it was considered an important proof in a case being heard at the court. The user, surnamed Sun, fell to his death at work, but his employer has insisted Sun was anxiously speaking on the phone when the accident occurred. The call log was needed to verify the story. But the request was repeatedly rejected by the local branch.

China Mobile Hubei on Aug. 2 explained in an interview with Thepaper.cn that there may be some legal misunderstanding.

China’s Telecommunication Law protects civilian’s personal freedom and privacy in communications, except when state security is at risk or in a criminal case. Meanwhile, the Civil Procedure Law also requires that institutes and individuals cooperate with a court's investigation.

Lawyers are divided on the issue, especially since Sun had passed away before the investigation. Shanghai-based lawyer Ding Jinkun said a dead man’s call log is no longer his legal right but his property right, Thepaper.cn reported.

However, there is so far no regulation or law on digital property rights in China, including telecommunications, blogs, and social media accounts, Ding noted, adding that related laws should be issued to prevent similar situations.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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