China needs stronger personal data protection laws

Existing real-name registration system makes it more pressing to have stricter rules that can be enforced to prevent the misuse of people's personal information.

China needs stronger, more enforceable laws on protecting personal data given that people are being required to give up more of their information to register for common services such as mobile phone numbers and Internet prepaid cards.

The China Daily reported Tuesday the real-name registration China had embarked on three years ago is being extended to other phone and Internet services . As such, it is important for China to create a law to protect personal information or consumers may see their privacy, particularly online, compromised, said Zhou Hanhua, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' law institute.

He added while the country's top legislature had issued a decision to improve the protection of personal information last year, it is "far from enough".

"We just have a legal framework and some basic principles, but all of them are difficult to enforce and cannot threaten enterprises," Zhou said.

Li Yuxiao, a professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, added in the report the first priority for local lawmakers would be to define what is personal information. Many people are providing information online when registering an account or shopping, but they do not know whether the data given is necessary and how it would be used, he noted.

"We need a rule that can not only help netizens understand what kind of information should be presented, but also supervise Web enterprises to legally use what they get from users," Li said in the report.