Beijing Internet Court Rules Douyin, WeChat Read for User Infringement

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Beijing Internet Court has ruled that two popular Chinese apps, WeChat Read and Douyin, infringed users' personal information but did not violate their privacy, as reported by The Paper on July 31. Under the court's ruling, both Tencent [0700:HK] and ByteDance have been ordered to pay the plaintiffs in cash compensations for accessing users' contacts without permission and infringing personal information.

A popular tech commentator who uses the pen name Constantine wrote in a blog post on July 31 that many Chinese tech firms, both large and the SMEs, are liable for infringing users' personal information. According to the China Consumers Association, more than 90% of the 100 apps it assessed in 2018 were over-collecting user data and failed to inform users before collecting their credentials. To combat this problem, China's internet regulator CAC announced a new law aimed at curbing excessive data collection by mobile apps last year. By the end of 2019, MIIT disclosed that it received more than 12,000 complaints of apps illegally collecting users' personal information, and had punished 260 apps for such violations.

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