China to create new top regulator for data governance: WSJ

March 7, 2023 0:32 am

Chinese authorities will set up a new government agency to manage data in China, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

This new national data bureau will be China's top regulator on a variety of data-related issues, changing the current structure that is overseen by multiple ministries, including the China Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, etc. Industry executives say the involvement of multiple authorities sometimes leaves companies confused about which agency to approach on compliance issues.

The plan to establish the agency is expected to be discussed and approved at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress, which will run through March 13, the sources said.

If established, the agency would set and enforce data collection and sharing rules for companies and rule on whether multinational companies can export data generated by their operations in China, according to the report.

The new data regulator would also investigate a variety of issues in the digital sphere, such as the use of algorithms to manipulate data or induce Internet addiction in minors, as well as identify data security vulnerabilities that are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

In recent years, China has been tightening controls on data citing personal data security and national security concerns. The government has implemented a series of regulations aimed at strengthening data security and protecting personal information, including the Data Security Act and the Personal Information Protection Act, both of which were enacted in the fall of 2021.