“For the first time, it specifically defines sensitive personal information (“SPI”) and recognizes SPI is belonging to a specific category of information that must be treated with extra safeguarding,” says Yingying Zhu, Partner, MingDun Law Firm. “Also, individuals have a broader scope of rights than previous laws in the same sector and it brings China’s protection on privacy even closer to the GDPR standards. Furthermore, because of its extraterritorial applicability, when the law finally comes into force, the Chinese privacy rules can also apply to data processing activities outside China. The consequence of this expansion is that non-Chinese data controllers and processors must comply with the Chinese data protection obligations when processing data on individuals in China for specific purposes.”
She adds that when implemented, this will be beneficial to individuals in China since privacy forms the basis of individuals’ rights and freedom.
“To free from unlawful intrusion to personal data and to safely entrust your data to the businesses you are dealing with are critical to the well-being of individuals in China,” she says. “To data processing businesses, living up to the requirements of the data privacy law will not only result in better legal compliance but also help to build up a reputation and a competitive advantage. The process of compliance may cost a lot in the beginning, but in the long run, it will prove to be valuable as real dollars, euros or Chinese yuan will be saved because those in compliance are more likely to avoid fines, litigation costs, negative media attention and reputation damage.”
“Hopefully, the new law could come into force in 2021 and then becomes the major force to safeguard people’s data in China,” she says. “As in other parts of the world, laws and regulations in this area are constantly evolving in China as changes and further judicial interpretations are still in the pipeline. The best practice for most businesses is to build an up- to-date, dynamic, adaptable and effective privacy protection program that can skillfully and nimbly deal with changes as they occur.”
Excel V. Dyquiangco