China is looking to crack down on its logistics sector, with plans to add companies that mishandle personal data to a social credit blacklist, according to a document published by the country’s top national planning agency on Thursday.
Why it matters: China’s logistics sector is driven by the world’s largest e-commerce market. Given the volume of personal information needed to collect and deliver goods, there is room for mishandling and leaking private information.
- Creating a blacklist for the logistics sector is part of a broader initiative to deploy punishments across governmental departments to enforce existing laws.
- The move is the latest in a series of measures to control rampant data issues that plague consumers in the country.
Details: The draft document released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is open for comment until August 14, the government body said in a statement.
- Companies could be blacklisted for illegally collecting, disclosing, or distorting personal information, as well as providing data to others without consent.
- Details of blacklisted individuals and companies will be published on the Credit China website, a website for social credit and blacklist information.
Context: China has laid out plans to create an oft-discussed social credit system, the backbone of which is expected to be completed by 2020.
- The Chinese government is attempting to address issues of data mishandling in the country. Regulators have set up a cross-ministry task force to investigate apps that over-collect data. Numerous tech firms have so far been targeted, including Alibaba’s food delivery arm Ele.me, social e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu, and voice recognition firm iFlytek.
- The initiative has found that popular financial services apps had not sufficiently protected user data.
- China is using social credit as a mechanism to enforce laws, creating cross-departmental punishments, a system in which a company or individual is penalized by multiple government entities if it is blacklisted by one.
- The Chinese government hopes to gain insights into how people in the country behave and how to control them by aggregating records throughout its ministries and departments.