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Beijing wants to make data export punishable

In the future, domestic as well as foreign companies and individuals who store data on servers in China could face criminal charges if they hand it over to foreign agencies. A clause to this effect has been added to China’s draft data protection law. The new clause provides for Chinese companies and individuals to be punished if they hand over data stored in China to police, courts, or investigators abroad without Beijing’s consent.

The top legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, began its second review of the law this week, according to SCMP. Last summer, it unveiled the first draft of the Data Protection Law and the draft of the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) (China.Table reported). According to state news agency China News Service, the new regulation stipulates that Chinese companies and institutions can be fined up to ¥1 million (about €127,600) – individuals ¥200,000 (about €25,500) – if they hand over data to a foreign judicial or law enforcement agency without Beijing’s authorization.

Under the law, for example, any Chinese or US company that holds US users’ data on a China-based server could deny a US court request to access that data if Beijing does not give its express permission, SCMP said.

“The new law increases the regulatory burden on any company – Chinese or foreign – that collects data in China or uses data that originates in China, and it has an extraterritorial effect,” Paul Haswell, a partner at law firm Pinsent Mansions told SCMP, but acknowledges that the burden is essentially similar to the burden on companies that collect or use personal data of European citizens under the GDPR. niw

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