Not content with stamping down on investment and setting up a complex new registration system for mobile games, the Chinese government has now announced new regulations concerning the collection of mobile data.
Covering both developers and app store providers, the new rules come into force on 1 August and span privacy concerns and the identification of users.
According to Marbridge Consulting, app providers now have to:
- Take measures to ensure the real identity of registered users, such as using mobile phone number verification methods.
- Obtain consent from users on the use and collection of their personal information. App providers must clearly indicate the purpose, means, and scope of collection and use of a user's personal details.
- Establish inspection and management systems for user-generated content. If illegal content is published, the app provider should issue a warning or impose restrictions depending on the circumstances, including suspending app updates or closing the offending user's account. The app provider should keep records and report incidents to relevant authorities.
- Obtain consent from users to collect location information, call records, or to activate users' cameras or microphones. App providers are also prohibited from bundling unrelated software into their app installers.
- Respect and protect intellectual property rights. App providers are prohibited from producing or distributing apps that infringe on the intellectual property rights of others.
- Maintain user records for 60 days.
In addition, app store providers have to carry out "security inspections" of developers, as well as being "encouraged" to ensure developers follow the new regulations.
Letter of the law
As with many Chinese regulations, these aren't too different from the sort of privacy and IP laws in the west.
For example, privacy issues recently saw ad network InMobi finded $950,000 in the US.
What will be more interesting to see if how they are enforced, especially the rules on user-generation content, which will certainly be an issue for NetEase, which is bringing Minecraft to China.
Another potential issue could be the banning of "bundling unrelated software", a term which is open to intepretation.