Sep 24, 2021 03:59 PM

Hey Tea, China Southern Airlines Among 52 Apps That Violated User Privacy, Ministry Says

What’s new: The official apps of China Southern Airlines, tea chain Hey Tea and second-tier ride-hailing player Dida Chuxing were among a new list of 52 mobile apps ordered to rectify practices that had infringed on users’ rights.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said in a notice (link in Chinese) on Thursday that the apps had failed to fix issues such as collecting personal information outside the necessary scope, requesting excessive permissions and misleading users. The operators will face punishment if they fail to do so by Sept. 29.

The latest round of regulatory action specifically targets apps related to travel, meal delivery and navigation, and comes ahead of the week-long National Day holiday starting on Oct. 1.

The background: China has taken aggressive action on how private firms handle data in recent months with fresh rules and guidance for the country’s major internet players.

On June 10, the country passed a new Data Security Law, which came into effect on Sept. 1. The regulation requires companies to classify their data into different categories based on risk and protect the data accordingly.

As of June 21, the MIIT said it had inspected 1.17 million apps (link in Chinese) and found more than 4,000 were violating data collection rules, which it demanded companies rectify.

The country also passed its first national Personal Information Protection Law last month, setting strict rules on how companies should treat the personal information collected from China’s more than 900 million internet users. The legislation, which is based on the principle of informed consent, will come into effect on Nov. 1.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Kelsey Cheng ( and editor Josh Dummer (

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