China removes 94 apps for privacy violations: Official


China has completed technical tests on 440,000 apps with high popularity in China's mainstream app stores, among which 1,336 apps with privacy violations were asked to rectify, and 94 were removed from app stores with severe violations, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Friday.

The emergence of apps has increased the risk of private information leakage as users regularly share personal data through their smartphones and web cookies tracking every click. With more consumers realizing and complaining that their personal data was misused in an abusive way, regulators are stepping supervision against the firms, especially on how the users' personal information is collected and used.

Lu Chun, Deputy Director of the Information and Communications Administration of the ministry told reporters that there are over 3.5 million apps in China and the number keeps growing, which posed great pressure on government regulation and supervision.

He explained that these apps, by getting access to the consumer's personal data and tracking every online step of consumers, gain unprecedented insight into consumers and serve up specific ads they think consumers are likely to enjoy or click on. In the process, there are high risks of personal information abuse and leakage.

Liu Liehong, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology said the ministry will launch a special campaign next year to crack down on illegal apps and will create a technological platform for app testing by using big data and AI technology, aiming to check 1.8 million apps in 2021.

So far, the ministry has formulated 11 standards for app firms' data collection, including phone contacts, recordings, face information and location.