China’s popular apps have found themselves in hot water as the public scrutinizes how tech companies collect user data. Companies including iQiyi, Youku, and Ele.me have responded to the latest criticisms relating to user privacy.

Earlier this week, Baidu CEO Robin Li’s claim that people in China “are more open, or are not that sensitive about privacy” sparked a public outcry across social media. An internet user quoted by Xinhua News said: “Chinese internet users are more open-minded towards personal privacy and are less sensitive does not mean that their data can be acquired without permission, doesn’t mean it is legal for companies to take their user data without consent.”

This prompted a reporter from the Beijing News to do a “privacy test” on China’s 10 popular apps on Android system. The reporter found that 2 of the ten apps do not ask for user permission, and 5 can’t function normally if users deny access to their personal data. Two apps by Baidu — Baidu’s online forum Tieba and its video streaming site iQiyi — have access to certain functions as default including, microphone, phone status, location settings, contacts, and more.

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Nicole Jao

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email: nicole.jao.iting@gmail.com.