Pros­e­cu­tors pledge to pro­tect per­sonal data

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD INTERNET CONFERENCE - In Wuzhen, Zhe­jiang caoyin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ju­di­cial of­fi­cials take steps to safe­guard on­line pri­vacy

Chi­nese pros­e­cu­tors vowed to en­hance their su­per­vi­sory role and join hands with other coun­tries to safe­guard per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in the age of big data through the rule of law to ef­fec­tively en­sure data se­cu­rity and fur­ther im­prove in­ter­net de­vel­op­ment.

“Pros­e­cut­ing au­thor­i­ties in China have strength­ened their ef­forts to fight crimes re­sult­ing from pri­vacy leaks, and we’re will­ing to in­crease in­ter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion to jointly build an open, co­op­er­a­tive and safe cy­berspace,” said Zhang Jun, procu­ra­tor-gen­eral of the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate.

He made the re­marks on Thurs­day when shar­ing Chi­nese pros­e­cu­tors’ ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­tect­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion dur­ing a fo­rum at the 5th World In­ter­net Con­fer­ence in Wuzhen, Zhe­jiang prov­ince.

The top procu­ra­torate’s of­fi­cial statis­tics showed that more than 8,700 peo­ple were ac­cused by pros­e­cu­tors of the crime of harm­ing peo­ple’s per­sonal in­for­ma­tion from Jan­uary 2016 to Septem­ber.

This not only means that pri­vacy leaks have be­come a hot prob­lem in the in­ter­net era, but also brings new ju­di­cial chal­lenges for pros­e­cu­tors, he said.

Given that the prob­lem is se­ri­ous, Zhang said that Chi­nese ju­di­cial of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing pros­e­cu­tors, have taken a se­ries of steps to pro­tect peo­ple’s pri­vacy, with pow­er­ful leg­is­la­tion and stricter law en­force­ment.

“To bet­ter solve it, we need a joint force, as cy­berspace gov­er­nance is a task for ev­ery walk of life, such as in­ter­net com­pa­nies, tech­ni­cians and ne­ti­zens,” he said.

A team spe­cial­ized in han­dling in­ter­net-re­lated crimes has been set up by the top procu­ra­torate, and some re­gional pros­e­cut­ing au­thor­i­ties have also im­proved the qual­ity of re­lated prose­cu­tions by invit­ing in­ter­net spe­cial­ists to act as ad­vi­sors, he said.

Jia Yu, chief pros­e­cu­tor of the Zhe­jiang Pro­vin­cial Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate, agreed, con­firm­ing that find­ing a bal­ance be­tween data de­vel­op­ment and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion has been a big chal­lenge for ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties from home and abroad.

“It’s good to see our coun­try boosts pro­tec­tion and gives heav­ier penal­ties to pri­vacy of­fend­ers,” he said. “But we need a clearer dis­tinc­tion be­tween sen­si­tive, im­por­tant and gen­eral per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in the cur­rent laws, as dif­fer­ent kinds of in­for­ma­tion re­quire us to use dif­fer­ent ways to safe­guard and pun­ish the wrong­do­ers.”

Wu Shenkuo, an as­so­ciate law pro­fes­sor at Bei­jing Nor­mal Univer­sity, spoke highly of Chi­nese law­mak­ers’ in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity to guar­an­tee pri­vacy in re­cent years.

“For in­stance, pri­vacy pro­tec­tion and on­line plat­forms’ du­ties have been high­lighted and clar­i­fied in the Cy­ber­se­cu­rity Law and the E-Com­merce Law.”

He said it is good that the na­tion’s top leg­is­la­ture has put for­ward a plan to make laws on per­sonal in­for­ma­tion pro­tec­tion and data se­cu­rity on its agenda, adding that he be­lieved that more clar­i­fied laws would con­trib­ute greatly to al­le­vi­at­ing pri­vacy leaks.

Pros­e­cu­tors na­tion­wide also need to fight crime caused by pri­vacy leaks through bi­lat­eral or mul­ti­lat­eral agree­ments with other coun­tries, “as the use and de­vel­op­ment of big data is a global prob­lem”, Jia said.

Zhuang Rong­wen, min­is­ter of the Cy­berspace Ad­min­is­tra­tion of China, said that in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion should be fur­ther de­vel­oped, such as how to pre­vent on­line risks, ef­fec­tively share in­for­ma­tion and fight crimes.

As co­op­er­a­tion is be­ing pro­moted, “we should make bet­ter use of big data, es­pe­cially ex­plor­ing how to use it to im­prove peo­ple’s liveli­hoods, and ex­pand se­cu­rity ed­u­ca­tion and en­hance peo­ple’s se­cu­rity aware­ness while surf­ing the in­ter­net”, he added.

Aleksandr Konyuk, pros­e­cu­tor-gen­eral of the Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor’s Of­fice of Be­larus, re­vealed a sur­vey from his na­tion to at­ten­dees at the fo­rum, which stated that 42 per­cent of in­ter­net users in Be­larus suf­fered on­line threats from Jan­uary to Septem­ber, and these at­tacks re­sulted in se­ri­ous in­for­ma­tion leaks.

He ap­plauded the fact that more coun­tries were will­ing to solve the prob­lem by in­creas­ing in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion.

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