Chinese officials issued new regulations outlining the scope of personal information to be collected by 39 categories of apps, as the country looks to restrict companies from gathering user data deemed unnecessary for basic functions.
In a statement, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said the rules coming into force on 1 May will require app developers to provide access to their services even when users are unwilling to provide non-essential personal data.
The move aims to change what CAC said is a “very prominent” over-collection of user data by apps, with authorisation being “forced in disguise” by some developers seeking more personal information than the amount needed to run the main service functionalities.
Messaging, navigation, payment and gaming apps are among the categories covered.
For 13 of the 39 categories, including short-form video and fitness apps, no personal information collection will be required.
CAC said authorities also planned to enhance supervision of apps and warned of prompt investigations if they received reports on violations of the new requirements.
The country’s new guidelines have been in the works for more than three months, reportedly as part of wider efforts to curb the dominance of domestic tech giants.