Briefing: Majority of Chinese apps tested collect too much data

Almost Half of Apps in China Lack Privacy Policy, Collect Excess Data, Report Says – Yicai Global

What happened: On Wednesday, the government-approved China Consumers Association (CCA) released the results from its September tests on 100 apps in 10 different categories. Apps included social media, payment, e-commerce, and video-streaming platforms, among others. The association said that 59 apps retained too much information about users’ location, while a minority also collected sensitive data related to their contacts, identities, and/or phone numbers. Some 47 apps were perceived to lack adequate privacy protections, while 34 didn’t have a privacy policy at all.

Why it’s important: The association’s announcement came on the same day that Shanghai’s Consumer Council singled out three popular apps–Cheetah Mobile’s CM browser, CooTek’s TouchPal keyboard, and Mango TV–for failing to bring their privacy safeguards up to standard. Whether or not it was coincidence, the two groups’ actions show that government bodies appear to be taking consumers’ privacy concerns seriously. For many users, however, it may be too late. A survey conducted in August by the CCA revealed that over 85% of app users had experienced data leaks. As a result, the majority suffered from telemarketers or spam, while some even had their accounts stolen.