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China’s New Data Protection Law Maintains Full State Access To Private Information, but Puts Clamps on Tech Firms Comparable to EU’s GDPR

By Scott Ikeda for CPO Magazine
Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Previous drafts of the data protection law have been published online, but the full and final terms are not entirely clear yet. It is a safe bet that it will not restrict government access to whatever information (personal or otherwise) companies are collecting in the country. However, it does surpass the level of data handling regulation for private companies in a number of other developed countries.

Ilia Kolochenko, Founder/CEO and Chief Architect at ImmuniWeb, sees it as a relatively big win for Chinese consumers: “Asia is a central place of rapidly evolving privacy and data protection legislation, spanning from leading data protection regimes like in Singapore to countries like India or Hong Kong that now consider major improvements of their privacy legislation to be consonant with the GDPR model. PIPL is long-awaited legislation in China that, in my opinion, will bring a lot of benefits both for Chinese companies and consumers … Violations of PIPL may trigger harsh monetary penalties going up to 5% of the past year annual turnover, being even bigger than the GDPR ones. We will, of course, need to observe PIPL enforcement actions and nascent jurisprudence to compare China’s data protection regime with other countries.”

The passage of this new data protection law also highlights the issue of enforcement emerging in some other areas, most notably in Ireland. While these laws may look good on paper, they are ultimately toothless if regulators opt to defer to tech firms when it is time to render a verdict. The Chinese government has spent 2021 thus far demonstrating that it is serious about backing up its new laws, hitting retail giant Alibaba with a massive $2.8 billion fine in April for anticompetitive practices and blocking leading rideshare app Didi from taking on new customers for an indeterminate period of time over national security concerns related to its foreign IPO. Read Full Article

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