Sichuan releases guidelines on protecting personal information amid COVID-19 control

Construction workers wearing face masks assemble partition walls as they convert the Rizal Memorial Coliseum into a quarantine spot to contain the spread of novel coronavirus in Manila, the Philippines on April 3, 2020. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

Southwest China’s Sichuan Province has released guidelines on the protection of personal information amid COVID-19 control as the region reported new cases, according to the province’s official WeChat account.

The guidelines require that any state body, social organization or individual shall not openly share individual information, including name, ID card number, telephone number, or home address, without the permission of the collector or their guardians, in order to protect citizens’ personal information during epidemic prevention and control, based on China’s laws.

Network operators should strengthen their management of user release of information related to the epidemic situation in accordance with the law. They should take timely measures to ensure elimination of the illegal release and use of citizens’ personal information, prevent the dissemination of other people’s privacy and ensure retention of relevant records and report to the relevant competent departments.

Related information that needs to be made public for epidemic prevention and control work should be processed to ensure that individuals cannot be identified and cannot be recovered, it said.

It said information on the epidemic situation shall be released by departments authorized by law, adding that the public should obtain information about the epidemic from authoritative agencies, treat unconfirmed information with caution, and do not believe and spread rumors.

Any unit or individual that finds the illegal collection, use or disclosure of individuals’ personal information or the invasion of people’s privacy may report it to official departments such as public security departments. 

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