Chinese Central Bank Cracks Down on Privacy Intrusions by Credit Information Apps


The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is cracking down on the use of smartphone apps to collect private data on users for credit information purposes.

China has recently seen the emergence of apps that amass credit information on users by requiring them to provide access to confidential data on their smartphones.

This data covers a broad gamut of confidential information, including GPS position, phone numbers, voice recordings, photo images and even text messages.

“Recently, we have discovered that some third party apps for smart phones can connect to the person credit report inquiry websites of credit information centres,” said the PBOC Credit Information  Centre (央行征信中心) in January. “The Credit Information Centre has not authorised any third party app’s to provide personal information report inquiry services, and we respectfully ask all users to be aware.”

In order to  deal with this issue PBOC has just issued the “Notice on Further Strengthening Credit Information Security Management” (关于进一步加强征信信息安全管理的通知) (Directive 102).

The Notice seeks to “further strengthen credit information security management with respect to enterprise and individual credit information systems.”

Strict inquiry authorisation mechanisms are now required for information collection, and credit information reports are strictly prohibited without prior consent.

The Notice also strictly prohibits the connection of apps with credit information systems without prior authorisation and approval, and requires the “strict management of wholesale data…and the handling of the sampling, retention, transfer, use and destruction of wholesale data in accordance with the principles of legality, appropriateness and necessity, as well as in strict accordance with procedures and confidentiality requirements.”

The move comes as PBOC makes preparations for broader improvements to credit information systems within China.

On 4 May the PBOC Credit Information Work Conference said that it would accelerate the establishment of a credit-system covering all of Chinese society, actively establish online credit systems, and rationally guide the standardised development of market-based institutions.