China considering personal data law

Country's existing laws lack specific rules and definition for crimes related to personal data, which makes it tougher for law enforcement officers to convict criminals, report states.

China's police force is pushing for more regulated and clearly defined parameters on crimes involving the theft of personal data, as existing ones hamper its efforts to obtain convictions.

In a report on Tuesday, the China Daily interviewed Liao Jinrong, deputy director of the criminal investigation department under the Ministry of Public Security, who said while existing criminal laws cover the illegal obtaining, offering, or selling of personal data, they lack specific rules and definitions. This makes it difficult for law enforcement officials to secure convictions, he added. 

As such, the ministry is negotiating with China's Supreme People's Procuratorate and Supreme People's Court to push the legislation for the protection of personal data, Liao revealed.

He added there is a growing demand for personal data and warned this may pose a number of threats such as blackmail and fraud.

China Daily noted the police launched a nationwide campaign this April to combat such crimes. In its first crackdown, officers from 20 provincial regions arrested nearly 2,000 suspects for allegedly stealing or disclosing personal information.

Some 44 people were identified providing illegal information, while it ended 161 unauthorized databases and closed 611 companies that illicitly conducted surveys, it added.

Other Asian nations have also stepped up data protection measures. Singapore's Data Protection Law has been in the works for several years, and opened for the third and final round of public consultation since March . Malaysia's Personal Data Protection Act came into effect in April 2010, while in 2007, India's government had enacted the country's Do-Not-Call directive .