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China’s new data protection law to ban data-enabled price discrimination

The experience of data-enabled price discrimination has been shared by users from across different services, including online shopping platforms, takeaways, ride-hailing services, flight and hotel booking services, with many reporting discounts and coupons being given in favour of new users while existing users seeing a higher price.

China has passed a new law designated to protect online users’ data privacy, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Friday 20 August.

The law, known as the Personal Information Protection Law that was proposed last year, is set to take effect on 1 November following the decision made by the National People’s Congress on Friday.

Among the ten major clauses around the handling of personal information, the one banning data-enabled price discrimination against existing customers has received the most attention. Netizens have also applauded for regulations on obtaining individual’s consent when collecting personal data by online services.

“There is an increasing number of companies using data analytics to evaluate consumer characteristics for commercial marketing,” the law states, “some have been using price discrimination based on data obtained regarding consumers’ financial status, consuming habits and price sensitivity.”

“Handlers of personal information are required to make sure all decisions are made transparent and fair and should not apply differentiated prices to individuals.”

The new law has been welcomed by Chinese Internet users, with several tech giants being called out for price discrimination and for “bullying” users into giving consent.

” Apps should be banned from reading users’ mobile data… keep receiving feeds on products I searched before… there’s no privacy, we are all ‘naked’ on the Internet. “ Comment from a Weibo user


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