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China to enact comprehensive legislation in personal data

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June 10, 2016

China said earlier today it will create more comprehensive regulation and legislation in personal information and data protection in an effort to better facilitate a new national big data program it hopes will improve health policy and services.

To be sure, China's State Council announced the strategy this week, with premier Li Keqiang declaring that enhancing the development of medical big data is a pressing task now.

It is also an important project for public welfare, in the context of a growing need for health and medical services, he stated.

Premier Li's speech also said that China needs more public health information “to improve the government’s management of major public health issues.”

China's new initiative calls for the creation of a “countrywide personal health information platform” that links data from local and provincial records into a national database that Beijing will mine for its population.

Part of the new plan is about the overall portability of medical records, to facilitate transferrable insurance.

There's also an ambition to “improve the government’s management of major public health issues”, which sounds an awful lot like a little bit of epidemiology.”

That Li Keqiang has recognized the need for an improved privacy regime is notable, given China's aggressive prying into its citizens online activities.

Making certain that health records get better privacy therefore looks like a step in the right direction.

Sadly however, Li's statements to date don't offer much details about just how China plans to strengthen its privacy legislation.

The new initiative has been offered as an example of China's “Internet Plus” effort to make all things online fuel for the nation's next phase of economic development.

Source: The government of China.

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