Couri­ers could face fines for data leaks

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CHINA DAILY

Ex­press de­liv­ery com­pa­nies could face fines of up to 100,000 yuan ($14,820), or could even be shut down, for leak­ing cus­tomers’ per­sonal data, ac­cord­ing to a draft reg­u­la­tion that aims to make the in­dus­try more se­cure.

Com­pa­nies would also be re­quired to store way­bills and any elec­tronic data in a suit­able man­age­ment sys­tem and de­stroy it af­ter a set pe­riod of time.

Fines of up to 20,000 yuan would be as­sessed for il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties that chal­lenge the se­cu­rity, in­ter­ests or rights of the coun­try or its cit­i­zens, or for ac­tions such as open­ing or hid­ing peo­ple’s pack­ages.

The draft reg­u­la­tion, re­leased for pub­lic feed­back by the State Coun­cil’s Leg­isla­tive Af­fairs Of­fice, states that com­pen­sa­tion should be paid to cus­tomers for de­layed, lost or dam­aged parcels.

The draft marks the first time the real-name regis­tra­tion sys­tem has been men­tioned in leg­is­la­tion. It stip­u­lates that cus­tomers must pro­vide their name, ad­dress and con­tact de­tails to use de­liv­ery ser­vices.

“The reg­u­la­tion fully pro­tects the le­git­i­mate in­ter­ests of all par­ties con­cerned, sets proper in­dus­try stan­dards and shows our courier com­pa­nies how to de­velop in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy,” a se­nior em­ployee at STO Ex­press, a ma­jor Chi­nese courier, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied, said on Tues­day.

Ac­cord­ing to data from Peo­ple’s Daily, the num­ber of cases of leaked and stolen per­sonal data in China re­mains high. From March to July alone, more than 1,800 cases of in­fringe­ment and hack­ing of res­i­dents’ per­sonal in­for­ma­tion were re­ported nationwide. More than 4,800 sus­pects were ar­rested and the per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of about 5 mil­lion peo­ple was seized. Com­pa­nies are said to be the main source of the leaks.

“The pro­tec­tion of cus­tomers’ in­for­ma­tion is an es­sen­tial re­spon­si­bil­ity of a courier com­pany,” the STO Ex­press em­ployee said. “The of­fi­cial de­struc­tion of way­bills and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion is un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the au­thor­i­ties now, though it is costly. We need more co­op­er­a­tion be­tween gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and more ma­ture tech­nol­ogy to re­duce the cost.”

The reg­u­la­tion has re­ceived gen­eral sup­port from the pub­lic.

“My way­bill can show a lot, like my con­sump­tion habits, home ad­dress and tele­phone num­bers, which could be worth a for­tune but very dan­ger­ous if sold to strangers,” said Li Lu, a post­grad­u­ate stu­dent at Univer­sity of In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness and Eco­nom­ics in Bei­jing. “The reg­u­la­tion is nec­es­sary for my se­cu­rity.”

“Also,” she said, “I’ve re­ceived many de­layed and dam­aged parcels, due to ei­ther vi­o­lent trans­port or just be­ing stuck in tran­sit cen­ters caused by strikes, which is hor­ri­ble for cus­tomers. With the new reg­u­la­tion, courier com­pa­nies will be more re­spon­si­ble for all de­liv­er­ies.”

Cao Chen in Shang­hai contributed to this story.

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