Shenzhen Unveils China’s First “Comprehensive” Data Legislation, Requires Express Consent for Gathering of Personal Data

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The southern tech hub of Shenzhen has unveiled the first far-reaching legislative bill covering the collection and usage of data.

On 28 December the Standing Committee of the Shenzhen People’s Congress conducted its first deliberations on the “Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Provisional Data Regulations (Draft)” (深圳经济特区数据暂行条例(草案)), which has been billed as China’s first “foundational, comprehensive legislation in the data sphere.”

The Regulations stipulate that the “gathering and processing of personal data involving privacy should obtain the express consent of natural persons or their guardians,” and that “written or verbal means must be used to actively state or confirm authorisation consent.”

The current Regulations removes reference, however, to “personal enjoyment of data rights,” that was contained in the previous draft version of the “Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Data Regulations” (深圳经济特区数据条例(征求意见稿)).

He Ruijun (何锐军), chair of the Shenzhen People’s Congress Economic Work Committee, said that until now China has lacked comprehensive, specialised legislation in relation to data, and that laws on data handling and management remain general and vague.

On 9 April Chinese central government issued a directive that made reference for the first time to data being a “new factor of production.”

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