China’s New Data Laws Come With Many Unanswered Questions

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China’s upcoming data protection law, which will enter into force on September 1, requires all companies in China to categorize the data they process into a series of classifications and governs how the data is stored and shared with other parties.

Important categories are “national core data” and “important data,” for which mishandling could result in a fine of up to 10 million yuan or even a lawsuit. However, the government has not yet given definitions for this or other details about what type of data falls into which category.

For example, the law states that only companies wishing to transfer “important data” abroad must carry out a security assessment each time.

“There is no list, there is no annex, there are no examples so we’re a little bit in the dark here,” says Nicolas Bahmanyar, a senior consultant at the Beijing law firm LEAF.

China will also introduce new provisions on September 1 to protect “critical information infrastructure,” but experts say definitions of such infrastructure remain vague and unclear.

Industry-specific regulators, who are also expected to provide a more detailed framework, have not yet done so.

The new rules mark Beijing’s growing concern about the amount of data that private companies have received and whether such information could be exposed to attack and abuse, particularly by other countries.

China’s 2017 cybersecurity law mandates firms to store data in China and agree to security checks, and will be supplemented by new rules on the handling of personal data on November 1.

One landmark case is that of Didi Global, China’s powerful cyberspace regulator, which launched an investigation into data security risks in July, just two days after the company’s New York debut.

The Cyberspace Administration of China is also investigating online recruitment platform Boss Zhipin, owned by Kanzhun, and two commercial freight platforms of the Full Truck Alliance for alleged national data security risks.

For more information, read the original story in Reuters.

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