Chinese Internet watchdog slams Baidu, Huawei, Sina for privacy violations

Rohan Malhotra

A widely circulated denouncement from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) – the government body responsible for regulating the communications and software industry – contains a list of 21 different technology companies in China singled out for producing applications with security and privacy concerns on Thursday.

The following list of applications have all been found to either forcefully promote undesired applications with their nominal products, contain security flaws or violate user privacy by collecting personal information without consent. Some of the big tech companies of China are included on this list, including Baidu, 360, Huawei, Netease and Sina.

This says a lot about user experience in China. From personal experience it seems the practice of packaging undesired apps with marketplaces or utility tools is widespread. As has been widely reported, many of the consumer-facing software tech companies of China are engaged in a diversified battle to capture user share, with many of them vying to become this century’s all-encompassing Chinese software portal. By thrusting company-branded products onto users and forcing user lock-in, these companies likely believe they will create user retention.

In some ways this reminds me of the bad old days of Windows desktop computing going back to the early 2000’s. Of course this practice still exists beyond Chinese borders but it has arguably become less of an issue in recent times.

The fact that this announcement has been widely reported also goes to show the extent of latent user frustration and perhaps a desire on the part of users for the climate to change.

Below is a translated summary of some of the most prominent names included in the announcement followed by the original announcement.

translated blacklist blacklist from the MIIT


Toni Tang contributed to this article.

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