Thursday, December 01, 2022

What the US can learn from China’s data privacy rules

Wong Shue-teung, a retired insurance salesman from the U.S. city of Oakland, California, usually leaves his phone at home when he goes out. He receives robbery calls and does not know if his movements are tracked on the internet.

“Hard to say,” the 73-year-old said one weekday morning as he read a newspaper in the atrium of a high-rise in the city center. “You use Facebook and whatever. You do not know who might be listening. I do not really carry my phone around. I plugged it into voicemail at home. I do not want to answer the phone.”

Wong, like other typical American phone and computer users, is concerned about technology companies secretly collecting and abusing his personal data. The United States does not have a comprehensive nationwide law that restricts the ways Internet content providers collect and reuse people’s data.

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Some states have their own Internet laws, but technology firms and consumers want more uniform federal regulations to facilitate the “conflicting and sometimes competitive requirements” of today’s rules, says the think tank Council on Foreign Relations.

The European Union and China have both introduced internet regulations addressing online data collection and privacy. While the US is probably more familiar with the EU’s effort, it could greatly benefit from studying China’s approach.

File - In This File Photo Dated 17 December 2019, Eu And Chinese Flags At The Europa Building In Brussels.

FILE – In this file photo dated 17 December 2019, EU and Chinese flags at the Europa building in Brussels.

Europe vs China regulation

The EU on Thursday reached an agreement called the Digital Markets Act, with regulations “to limit the market power” of technology giants and ensure “that the combination of personal data for targeted advertising will only be allowed with the express permission of the gatekeeper, “which means big. technological platforms such as Apple, Meta, Google, Amazon and Microsoft. The new rules still require the approval of both parliament and the council.

However, China is already blocking the collection of user data for commercial gain. On March 1, a law targeting algorithms came into force in China. Internet-based companies worldwide use recommendation algorithms powered by artificial intelligence, or AI, to sell goods and services based on a user’s personal browsing history. The Internet Information Service Algorithms Recommendation Management Regulations ask for user permission before a website owner applies these algorithms.

The law follows Beijing’s regulation of the type of information that can be collected on the Internet. In November, the law on the protection of personal information came into force. This requires data handlers to obtain a person’s approval before collecting, storing, transmitting or reusing data that can identify that person.

The law in particular aims to protect children under the age of 14 by requiring parental consent for any data collection.

“I feel that all companies, whether Chinese companies or American companies, should limit the type of data they collect and be more transparent about the data they collect, although they should provide ways for their users to do a certain type of data collection. to reject, “said Wang Yaqiu, a New York-based senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch.

In the United States, half the population believes that personal information is now less secure than five years ago, estimates the Council on Foreign Relations. A “silence” in Facebook’s popularity reflects this sentiment as the social media service sends users to make certain choices for the benefit of advertisers, said Graham Webster, editor-in-chief of the DigiChina project at Stanford University’s cyber policy center.

Wang said netizens in China have become angry enough to sue. She expects Chinese Internet companies to “be the line.”

File - A Man Talks On His Phone Near A Giant Screen Showing Big Data And A Map Of China At An Internet Exchange In Beijing, April 30, 2021.

FILE – A man talks on his phone near a giant screen showing big data and a map of China at an internet exchange in Beijing, April 30, 2021.

Not quite a match

However, US-based Internet service providers, their users and the country’s regulators are likely to study China’s laws with as much suspicion as admiration, analysts say.

“The United States does not have that (law), so many people look at what China is doing to see what works and also to see what can cause problems, both for regular business interests or for human rights or other issues,” Webster said.

China is leading the world by creating a “thorough and all-around regime” to regulate data, cyber security and innovation, Webster said. Authorities strengthened the regulation of Internet companies in the middle to late 2021 to stop what they called abuse of user data and monopolistic business practices.

China’s data protection mandates could derail U.S. Internet companies due to difficult data localization clauses, said Nigel Cory, co-director of trade policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based research institute. US technology companies like Microsoft remain active in China, though some heavyweight US peers are gone, including Yahoo and LinkedIn.

Chinese law, unlike that in other countries, still allows the government free access to personal data, Cory added.

“This is a fundamental issue in global data management as there can be no real privacy or data protection if such rules do not apply to the government,” he said.

China’s law remains a broad overarching document rather than a precise set of rules, says Danny Levinson, a China-based technology and cyber security expert. He said the status raises questions about enforcement.

“China’s previously promulgated Cyber ​​Security Act covers some of the same issues, but here it’s both more specific to cover a certain demographic, while still retaining the good vagueness that a law like this typically contains in China,” Levinson said. The Cyber ​​Security Act of 2021 also aims to protect national security through the collection and use of data.

Chinese data privacy law is based on the European Union’s 4-year-old General Data Protection Regulation, which covers companies based everywhere that do online business in EU countries

Some Americans who know about Europe’s legislation may not know as much, or anything, about China’s. Many want the US government to come out with its own regulations.

“The U.S. does need a stronger law for data protection because a lot of companies collect our data and use it. They don’t really specify exactly how they use it,” said Carlo Gaytan, a senior at San Francisco Bay Area High School. Alameda Science & Technology Institute. He believes young people are being harmed by Facebook’s algorithms.

His colleague Moira Shur advocates learning from EU law – and keeping proper names as well as selfies off the public internet. “I think it would be very useful if we had a law like the EU, where you have to agree to your data being used,” she said. “They can not just use and sell it without your express permission.”

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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