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What caught so many people’s eye is the amount of information they share with the government to comply with “applicable laws or regulations.” According to the English policy, WeChat can disclose users’ personal information:
- in order to comply with applicable laws or regulations;
- in order to comply with a court order, subpoena or other legal processes;
- in response to a request by a government authority, law enforcement agency or similar body (whether situated in your jurisdiction or elsewhere);
- where we believe it is reasonably necessary to comply with applicable laws or regulations;
Interestingly, there seems to be an obvious difference in the company’s attitude when compared with the current update for Weixin (the mainland China version of the app) and a previous version for WeChat (the global version of the app) users updated in 2015.
“It’s already hardly bearable to collect our personal information. Now WeChat is going too far, even asking for smartphone contact list before logging into the app. Who do you think you are to ask everything about your users, the state secrecy administration?” commented a user under the pseudo name of “M梅梅”.
“In case of criminal investigations, we will provide certain information to law enforcement agencies when legally compelled to do so, which is in line with international practices,” they added, emphasizing that information on their servers are encrypted.
Update 29 September 2017, 10am: Included Tencent’s response.