Express delivery companies could face fines of up to 100,000 yuan ($14,820), or could even be shut down, for leaking customers’ personal data, according to a draft regulation that aims to make the industry more secure.
Companies would also be required to store waybills and any electronic data in a suitable management system and destroy it after a set period of time.
Fines of up to 20,000 yuan would be assessed for illegal activities that challenge the security, interests or rights of the country or its citizens, or for actions such as opening or hiding people’s packages.
The draft regulation, released for public feedback by the State Council’s Legislative Affairs Office, states that compensation should be paid to customers for delayed, lost or damaged parcels.
The draft marks the first time the real-name registration system has been mentioned in legislation. It stipulates that customers must provide their name, address and contact details to use delivery services.
“The regulation fully protects the legitimate interests of all parties concerned, sets proper industry standards and shows our courier companies how to develop information technology,” a senior employee at STO Express, a major Chinese courier, who asked not to be identified, said on July 25.
According to data from People’s Daily, the number of cases of leaked and stolen personal data in China remains high. From March to July alone, more than 1,800 cases of infringement and hacking of residents’ personal information were reported nationwide. More than 4,800 suspects were arrested and the personal information of about 5 million people was seized. Companies are said to be the main source of the leaks.
“The protection of customers’ information is an essential responsibility of a courier company,” the STO Express employee said. “The official destruction of waybills and personal information is under the supervision of the authorities now, though it is costly. We need more cooperation between government departments and more mature technology to reduce the cost.”
The regulation has received general support from the public.
“My waybill can show a lot, like my consumption habits, home address and telephone numbers, which could be worth a fortune but very dangerous if sold to strangers,” said Li Lu, a postgraduate student at University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. “The regulation is necessary for my security.”
“Also,” she said, “I’ve received many delayed and damaged parcels, due to either violent transport or just being stuck in transit centers caused by strikes, which is horrible for customers. With the new regulation, courier companies will be more responsible for all deliveries.”