Sunday, September 09, 2007

China privacy law due next year

According to China Daily, China will be enacting a privacy law in the next year or so:

Law on personal info 'next year'

...Zhou said the draft clarifies the legal duty of entities, especially enterprises, to protect personal information by following some basic principles.

For example, it says, an entity must specify the purpose personal information will be used for while collecting them. The entity has to make it clear that the information will not be used for any other purpose without the prior consent of the persons.

The draft bans any entity from providing personal information to a third party without the prior approval of the persons. Anyone found violating that could be fined and/or imprisoned, Zhou said.

There are exemptions, though. For instance, such information can be divulged to save a life or in public interest, or for criminal and tax investigations. To ensure press freedom, the media under certain conditions have also been exempted.

"The law has to protect personal rights, but it cannot disrupt the normal flow of information or social governance and supervision," Zhou said.

The draft's review has so far not been included in the legislation agenda of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature.

Experts have hailed the move to have such a law. "It's a milestone in privacy protection in China," Heilongjiang University civil law professor Sun Yi said.

China doesn't have clear legal provisions to protect privacy at present, so victims can't protect themselves even through lawsuits.

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