China Removes Three Apps for Violating Users’ Rights

  • The Ministry pointed out that the relevant application stores should organize the removal of the application software in the list immediately after the release of this notification.
  • A news source searched Huawei's mobile app store and found that certain apps had not been found.
  • The issues involved included denying permissions, difficult account cancellation, and private collection of personal information.

On January 3, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced the removal of the first batch of apps that infringed on the rights and interests of users. Three apps, including Renren Video, Spring Rain Pedometer, and WeChat-Original Music, were listed.

Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of the Chinese government, established in March 2008, is the state agency of the People’s Republic of China responsible for regulation and development of the postal service, Internet, wireless, broadcasting, communications, production of electronic and information goods, software industry and the promotion of the national knowledge economy.

According to the Ministry, on December 19, it notified the society of a list of 41 app companies that infringed on the rights and interests of users. Up to now, after review and re-inspection by a third-party testing agency, three apps have not completed rectification as required. The Ministry organized the removal of the app.

They pointed out that the relevant App Stores should organize the removal of the application software in the list immediately after the release of this notification. On the same day, a reporter from the Beijing News found that the three unfinished apps have been removed from the Huawei App Store, but as of 6:30 PM on January 3, the WeiSing-original music app can still be downloaded from the Apple IOS App Store.

The three APPs that were removed this time have different requirements for rectification. Among them, WeiSing-Original Music collects personal information privately, forces users to use the directed push function, and does not give permission to use. It is difficult to log out. Renren Video has the problems of collecting personal information privately, sharing it with third parties privately, and excessively claiming rights. The problem of Chunyu Pedometer is that it is difficult to cancel the account.

A news source searched Huawei’s mobile app store and found that the aforementioned app had not been found. The search results for Renren Video show that the “Renren Video service has been adjusted. Downloading is not available at this time.” However, the reporter found that the downloadable Renren Video app developer name in the Apple App Store was displayed as Tao Wan. The name of the Renren Video app reported by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is Wuhan Yingxiang Network Technology Co., Ltd.

Tencent QQ also known as QQ, is an instant messaging software service and web portal developed by the Chinese tech giant Tencent. QQ offers services that provide online social games, music, shopping, microblogging, movies, and group and voice chat software.

As early as November 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology organized a conference to launch a special rectification of app violations of users’ rights and interests. It focused on standardizing rectification work on eight types of issues, such as an illegal collection of user personal information. On December 19, the Ministry announced the first batch of application software that infringed on the rights and interests of users on the official website.

Forty-one apps have not been rectified. The Ministry required that these apps should complete the rectification and implementation work before December 31. If the app is not rectified within the time limit, it will organize relevant disposal work according to law and regulations. News sources noticed that the 41 apps were notified on December 19, included many well-known apps with high downloads, such as QQ, high-speed rail housekeeper 12306 train tickets, etc. The issues involved included denying permissions, difficult account cancellation, and private collection of personal information.

News sources downloaded and tested three previously-notified apps, and found that the issues involved have been rectified. Among them, there is a good doctor online who has the problem of “no permissions and no use.” News sources downloaded the app on January 3, and found that when the app was first installed, its pop-up window asked for permissions, such as app device ID and geographic location. When the user clicks Deny, a prompt explaining the purpose of requesting permission will pop up, saying “if the authorization is denied, the current operation will be terminated, but the browsing function will not be affected.”

The apps also rectified the problems of collecting personal information privately, mandating users to use the directed push function, and difficulty canceling accounts. News sources downloaded the app and found that it specifically emphasized the information collection clause in the privacy statement that popped up on the homepage. The user can also choose not to enable push notifications. In addition, you can find the account logout in the settings column.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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