China to regulate collection of personal data by mobile apps

Chinese authorities have issued a guideline banning mobile app providers from illegally collecting unnecessary personal information, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

Mobile apps cannot deny users access to their services if users refuse to share unnecessary personal information, per the guideline.

It specifies the scope of necessary personal information for 39 types of mobile apps. For example, navigation apps may have access to a user’s location, place of departure and destination. Instant messaging apps may collect personal information including a user’s mobile phone number, their messaging account and the accounts of their contacts.

The CAC said the guideline is aimed at regulating the collection of personal information by mobile apps to safeguard people’s personal information security.

The guideline will take effect on May 1.