The State Administration for Market Regulation (‘SAMR’) announced, on 10 April 2019, that it had launched, on 1 April 2019, a nationwide enforcement action to target organisations using consumer personal information illegally (‘the Enforcement Action’) following its issuance, on 12 March 2019, of a notice on the same. In particular, the SAMR highlighted that it will focus its investigations on organisations’ use of consumer personal information, including in relation to data breaches and the illegal sale or collection of such information without consent from the consumer. In addition, the SAMR highlighted that the Enforcement Action seeks to combat violations in industries which include real estate and sales, insurance, hospitality, delivery providers, as well as websites and mobile application providers.
Leon C.G. Liu, Partner and Attorney at MWE China Law Offices, told DataGuidance, “The Enforcement Action conducted by the SAMR is only a part of the personal information protection ‘movement’ in China. [In particular,] the Enforcement Action seeks to enforce the Electronic Commerce Law of the People’s Republic of China 2018, Cybersecurity Law 2016, which came into effect in 2017, and the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests of the People’s Republic of China 1993. Besides the SAMR, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and other competent departments are conducting investigations regarding personal information protection […]. Any organisation operating in China should take personal information protection very seriously.”
Presumably, the Enforcement Action would have a profound impact on various business operators, which could lead to an increase in compliance costs
In addition, the SAMR highlighted that the Enforcement Action aims to encourage operators to abide by legal obligations regarding the correct use of consumer personal information, as well as raise awareness about organisations that satisfy relevant legal requirements on the same. It also outlined that the Enforcement Action proposes to establish a safe and secure consumer environment in China. Furthermore, the Enforcement Action states that the SAMR will publish information on complaints it has received through telephone hotlines and posts on websites, among other things.
The Enforcement Action will take place until 30 September 2019.
HOLLY HIGHAMS Privacy Analyst