China’s information ministry has called out internet companies for regulatory violations, including data privacy breaches and overly aggressive marketing activities.
In a report covering the third quarter of 2018, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information (MIIT) singled out premium ride hailing service providers Shenzhou and Shouqi Yueche for not “releasing explanations regarding collection of passengers’ personal information.”
Dida Chuxing, a rising startup ride hailing service, was accused of not having any account deletion function.
MIIT said Alibaba-backed Suning offered no detailed guidance for checking users’ personal and related service information.
Cheetah Mobile, the NYSE-listed security and smart device manufacturing company, offered no guidance to consumers on how to check personal information and doesn’t allows users to delete their account once registered, the report added. The company did not respond immediately to a request for comment from TechNode.
Data collection and privacy has long been a problem for China, one of the most digitalized markets in the world. Earlier last month, Jiangsu police uncovered a sophisticated network of underground data brokers trading personal information to the tune of RMB 1 million a day.
MIIT also said it logged 144,793 complaints regarding apps in the third quarter, up almost 13% from the previous period.
Some six apps in Xiaomi’s application store forced users to accept promotional and marketing content, while four similar cases were found on Baidu’s “smartphone assistant” platform. Meanwhile, two apps on Baidu were accused of “maliciously charging” extra fees.
MIIT said that they had contacted the companies listed and have asked them to fix the problems.
It’s not clear what punishments, if any, would be doled out to the companies should they fail to meet MIIT’s expectations.