Baidu Sued Over Claim It Illegally Obtained Users’ Data
Baidu Inc., China’s largest search-engine operator, is being sued by a consumer-protection organization that claims it collected users’ information without consent, in the latest privacy dispute involving the country’s tech giants.
Two mobile apps operated by New York-listed Baidu, a search engine and a web browser, could access a user’s calls, location data, messages and contacts without notifying the user, the Jiangsu Consumer Council, a government-backed consumer rights association, claimed in a statement on its website.
Baidu denied the accusation, saying the apps “do not have the capability of monitoring phone calls and will never do it,” according to a statement publish Monday on its social media account
The consumer group filed the case against Baidu in December, and a court in Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu province, accepted the lawsuit on Jan. 2, according to the statement.
The Jiangsu consumer council said it talked to 27 mobile app operators in July about privacy issues and asked them to adjust their operations within two months. Most companies submitted plans for changes but Baidu didn’t, the group said.
“Despite rules and laws on consumer’s personal information protection, it has become a common practice for mobile apps to access private information without necessary authorization, posing great risks to individuals,” said the council in the statement.
In November, the council began negotiating with Baidu representatives, but the two sides failed to come to an agreement.
Baidu said it had conducted rounds of talks with the council over the past several months to explain the scenarios under which it uses authorization to access users’ information. The search giant said “Baidu apps obtain users’ authorization to access location, message and contacts and only use the information in a reasonable scale.”
Baidu is the latest tech giant in China accused of violating users’ privacy.
Last week, WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app that is operated by Tencent Holdings, came under scrutiny after automotive industry tycoon Li Shufu made a statement suggesting the company snoops on its users. Tencent issued a strong denial, saying WeChat neither stores users’ chat logs nor uses them for data analysis.
Ant Financial Service Group, affiliated with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, apologized last week after its widely-used payment service Alipay was found automatically enrolling users into its credit-rating system when they agreed to view their year-end electronic billing.
Ant Financial later fixed the function and said the previous default feature was well-intentioned but was “carried out extremely stupidly.”
Recent cases reflected rising public concern over privacy protection amid the fast rise of internet service providers that control all kinds of personal data. Compared with the U.S. and Hong Kong, where punishment on privacy invasion is strong, mainland internet companies are less worried about privacy concerns, a senior lawyer told Caixin.
Contact reporter Han Wei (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jul 02 19:38
Jul 02 16:33
Jul 02 14:50
Jul 02 13:28
Jul 02 12:04
Jul 01 19:08
Jul 01 17:47
Jul 01 16:22
Jul 01 15:59
Jul 01 12:58
Jun 30 18:14
Jun 30 17:59
Jun 30 16:17
Jun 30 12:53
Jun 29 16:35
- 1Cover Story: The Mystery of $2 Billion of Loans Backed by Fake Gold
- 2Dialogue with Jared Diamond: Global Pandemic and Crisis Management
- 3Exclusive: China Plans to Grant Securities Licenses to Commercial Banks
- 4EU May Open Borders to Chinese Travelers if Beijing Reciprocates
- 5China Business Digest: Luckin Coffee to be Kicked Off Nasdaq; U.S. Sets Record for New Covid-19 Cases in a Single Day
- 1Power To The People: Pintec Serves A Booming Consumer Class
- 2Largest hotel group in Europe accepts UnionPay
- 3UnionPay mobile QuickPass debuts in Hong Kong
- 4UnionPay International launches premium catering privilege U Dining Collection
- 5UnionPay International’s U Plan has covered over 1600 stores overseas