In China, consumers are becoming more anxious about data privacy

XU YUYU was a poor 18-year-old student from the coastal province of Shandong when, on the eve of going to university in 2016, she was defrauded of the savings that her family had painstakingly accumulated for her. She died of a heart attack that was caused, a court said, by the fraud. Ms Xu’s fate sparked an impassioned debate in China about data privacy because the scammer, Chen Wenhui, had paid a hacker for stealing her personal details. He was sentenced to life in jail for theft of private information.

China has a reputation for lax controls over the gathering, storage and use of digital data about individuals. But sensitivities about such matters are growing, and not just when information is stolen.

This month a court in the eastern city of Nanjing agreed to hear a case brought by a government-controlled consumers’ group against Baidu, China’s largest search engine. The group claims that a Baidu app illegally monitors users’ phone calls without telling them. At the same…Continue reading


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