xiaomi tencent illegal data collection china

The Chinese government has named Xiaomi and Tencent among the country’s biggest firms that are indulged in illegal data collection.

China’s internet regulator, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), has released a list of 41 apps that violate data collection laws in the country.

Xiaomi’s digital finance app Xiaomi Finance, and Tencent’s QQ and QQ Reading were on the list. Other Chinese technology companies like Sina Sina Corp’s sports media platform Sina Sports, news aggregator apps like 36Kr and Sohu News, and inter-city delivery service FlashEX were also called out.

Crackdown on data-stealing apps in China

China is putting in efforts to crack down on mobile app privacy violations, especially those apps that have a large user base.

Last month, MIIT announced a campaign against illegal data collection practices and user privacy protection issues in mobile apps. The campaign was supposed to run for two months where it would blacklist and halt operations of noncompliant apps.

The Chinese regulatory body also said that a third-party inspection of the apps will be conducted for apps with a high number of downloads.

Over the span of last one month, more than 8,000 apps that infringed Chinese data protection laws, made necessary changes to rectify it and became compliant during the “self-inspection stage.”

Nevertheless, MIIT still managed to find 41 problematic apps that were still collecting data illegally. These apps were also found using personal data of users, excessively requesting user authorization, or making it difficult for users to unsubscribe from it.

According to a report, Xiaomi’s finance app still makes it difficult to delete accounts. Meanwhile, Tencent’s popular instant-messaging service and web portal QQ, with 807 million monthly active accounts last year, was blasted for forcing users to give up their location data, and granting a number of app permission.

Furthermore, QQ’s reading app, QQ Yuedu, was still found collecting personal data secretly and sharing it with third parties.

Such apps have been given a deadline of 31st December to comply with regulations. Upon failing to make the necessary changes by then, MIIT will take action against such apps.

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