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Online Payment Services, Games and Livestreamers Can Be Criminally Liable for Data Breaches: Supreme Court

By Dave Yin / Oct 25, 2019 06:31 PM / Business & Tech

China's Supreme Court. Photo: VCG

China's Supreme Court. Photo: VCG

China’s Supreme Court is showing that leaking data is serious business for gaming operators and even individual web surfers, with the potential to land offenders in jail.

The nation’s highest court has just expanded the scope of “web service providers” that can be held criminally liable for data leaks to include online payment services, games, livestreaming platforms, and even individual internet users.

“Web service providers” include access providers, domain registrars,  computing, storage and transmission services, search engines, instant messengers, online payments, booking platforms, e-commerce, online games, livestreaming platforms, web developers, security providers, ad services, app stores, and even users of online public and government services like healthcare and education, according to a Friday announcement on the tribunal’s website (link in Chinese).

These companies and individuals can be held criminally responsible for causing user information to leak and more, the announcement said.

The updated regulations take effect Nov. 1.

In recent weeks China has taken various actions in quick succession as part of a nationwide pushback against the misuse of personal data.

Separate laws aiming to protect the privacy of children and minors were unveiled in late September and on Thursday. Beijing’s financial regulator is also conducting a blanket probe of companies gathering or “scraping” personal data online, which has been used in malicious debt collection.

Earlier this week, ubiquitous social media platform WeChat banned third parties from repurposing user information in its app in an update to its terms of use.

Contact reporter Dave Yin (

Related: Beijing Probes Tech Companies’ Data Scraping Activities


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