China targets tech giants in app privacy crackdown

Business

FILE – In this April 29, 2015 file photo, a woman uses her smartphone near a booth for the Chinese Internet company Tencent at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing. Chinese tech companies including social media giant Tencent have been ordered by regulators to clean up how their apps handle user information or face possible penalties. The industry ministry said Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 that 41 apps failed an examination following orders to ensure they comply with user data rules. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese tech companies including social media giant Tencent were ordered by regulators on Thursday to clean up how their apps handle user information or face possible penalties.

The order is the latest in a series of crackdowns by Communist authorities who encourage internet use but are steadily tightening censorship and other controls on operators. Violators in earlier crackdowns have lost licenses or suffered other penalties that cut into revenue or depressed their company’s share price.

The industry ministry said 41 apps failed an examination following orders in July to ensure they comply with user data rules.

Violators include Tencent Holding Ltd.’s QQ messaging app, Sina Corp.’s Sina Sports, Sohu.com Ltd.’s Sohu News and Xiaomi Corp.’s Xiaomi Finance.

The ministry said violations included improperly collecting or using information about visitors to their services.

The ministry said companies must comply by Dec. 31 or face “relevant resolution work,” but gave no details.

Data protection rules say possible penalties include fines and loss of operating licenses.

China has the world’s largest number of internet users with more than 800 million people online but also operates extensive monitoring and censorship.

The government requires operators of websites and social media services to enforce increasingly pervasive censorship rules. Details are secret but discussion of politically sensitive topics often disappears from websites.

Regulators have stepped up control over the past decade by eliminating anonymous use of the internet, requiring website operators to keep copies of anything the public posts on them and tightening censorship.

In 2014, Sina was stripped of its online publication license on charges of allowing lewd articles and videos to be posted on its service.

Last year, Tencent’s share price slid after regulators slowed approval of new online games and proposed tighter oversight amid complaints young Chinese people were spending too much time playing them.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

Don’t Miss

Best of the Valley
Sunday Morning Matters
MedWatch Today
Hispanic Heritage
Bulldog Insider: The Podcast
The Valley's Armenia
Pros Who Know

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.