ANALYSIS: Chinese Ministry Proposes New Internet Regulations With Privacy Provisions
By Martyn Huckerby, Sharon Wong and Emily Deng, of Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Shanghai.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently published proposed new measures designed to regulate competition between internet information service providers and enhance supervision over the internet information service market, with comments due by February 14, 2011.
The MIIT commenced consultation on the Provisional Measures for the Supervision and Administration of the Internet Information Service Market Order (Draft For Comments) (“the draft measures”), seemingly in an attempt to avoid further disputes similar to the recent conflict between Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Limited and Beijing Qihoo Technology Limited (detailed below). The draft measures introduce a framework for the regulation of unacceptable behaviour by internet information service providers (“providers”) in respect of their online information services and products, and mandates a dispute resolution mechanism. Prohibited activities include conduct deemed to be unfair competition, infringement of users’ legal rights and failure to duly protect the private information of users.
While not directly referenced, certain provisions of the draft measures have been developed with reference to existing laws, such as the PRC Anti-Monopoly Law, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law and the Consumer Protection Law (for example, provisions related to false propaganda and infringement of consumers’ right to choose). Whereas existing laws and regulations apply to all firms providing products or services in China, the draft measures specifically regulate providers…