xi's moments

Keep watchful eye on tricks of the apps

China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-30 07:43

People use their mobile phones outside an office building in Beijing on May 24, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

On Wednesday, the China Consumers' Association released a report on 100 smartphone apps, which found that the majority of them are suspected of collecting privacy and personal information that is unnecessary for their use. Beijing News comments:

Of the 100 tested applications, 34 contain no privacy terms for users at all, while 47 others contain privacy terms that fail to meet legal standards. Besides, 59 are suspected of collecting the location information of the user without a good reason, while 28 are suspected of collecting the user's address book data.

The majority of the applications suspected of violating user's privacy are run by small-and medium-sized enterprises, yet some large enterprises, such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, are also suspected of such behavior.

Their tricks are rather simple: They introduce vague privacy terms to mislead the user, or just put all authorization functions into one sentence so that some users might click "I agree" without clearly reading them all. Besides, some of them even hide the terms about sharing the user's privacy and information among other terms and make money by reselling the information to other companies.

This problem has existed for a long time. It threatens the privacy of ordinary users and violates their legal rights. The CCA report shows how serious the problem is and how rampantly smartphone applications violate people's privacy and rights.

That in turn explains how loose the current supervision over the smartphone applications is. It is time for supervisory departments to do their jobs more strictly and regulate these applications so that they no longer harm smartphone users.

The CCA has done a good move this time by issuing the report and sharing with the public the bad performance of the applications. However, it is not a legal enforcement department, so the pressure it can apply to prevent this illegal business behavior is rather limited. The departments with legal enforcement power should act to curb the violation of smartphone users' privacy.

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