The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued regulation on network protection of children's personal information, making it China's first legislation specifically aimed at children's Internet protection.
The Regulation, officially released on Friday, stipulates that no organization or individual is allowed to produce, release or disseminate information that infringes on the personal information safety of children under 14.
It will take effect on October 1.
Timely and necessary protection
Children's Internet-access age is getting lower.
According to a 2018 report on Internet use by minors nationwide, the number of China's underage Internet users (excluding groups under the age of six and non-students) reached 169 million by the end of July 2018. Internet penetration rate of minors reached 93.7 percent, with that of primary school students and junior middle school students being 89.5 percent and 99.4 percent, respectively. The data showed that 87.4 percent of minors used the Internet to study.
While, on one hand, the Internet can be a knowledge source for pupils, students face threats when some websites and apps illegally collect, abuse, or transact their personal information.
As a special legislation, the Regulation specifies rules on the collection, storage, use, transfer, disclosure, and deletion of juveniles' personal information to strengthen protection.
It stipulates that network operators shall set up special rules and user agreements, and designate special personnel to be responsible for the protection.
Network operators shall notify children's guardians in a prominent and clear manner and obtain their consent, while providing a refusal option for the collection, use, transfer, and disclosure of children's personal information.
Information including purpose, method and scope of such usage of children's personal information shall be notified to the guardians, as well as the location for the information storage, retention duration, and measures after expiry.
Operators shall also inform the guardians about the security measures for protecting children's personal information, consequences of rejection, channels to complain and report, and methods to correct and delete such information.
For the guardians, the Regulation requires them to correctly perform their duties of guardianship, educate and guide children to enhance their awareness and ability of personal information protection, and protect children's personal information.
More attention to children's network protection
The amendment of China's laws and regulations shows a major focus on minors' online protection.
The second draft of the personality rights section of the civil code added a new provision stating that collecting and use the personal information of minors and other persons without or with limited capacity for civil conduct shall obtain the consent of their guardians, except as otherwise provided by laws and administrative regulations.
A draft of the personal information disclosure consent guidelines made amendments regarding the specific ways to obtain the guardians' consent for collecting minors' personal information.
Experts recommended the addition of a section related to minors network protection to the draft revision of the Law on the Protection of Minors.