2. Protection of privacy in China in the Internet Era
In view of the facts and situations mentioned above, China always has been updating its traditional approaches to protect the privacy in the Internet Era and attempted to make some breakthroughs:
First, China improved laws and regulations by legislating to protect personal information. Since 2003, the Personal Information Protection Law has been included in the legislative agenda of the State Council. On August 25, 2008, the seventh amendment to the Criminal Law was proposed to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for approval. It asked to hold those committing leaking, stealing, or buying personal information of citizens criminally accountable. The legislation of Personal Information Protection Law will make it more effective to protect private information of users of the Internet and will play a positive role in enhancing the self-regulation of Internet enterprises.
Some scholars think that China’s legislation on privacy protection must strike a reasonable balance among the state, society and individuals. And the principle of the neutralization of technology should be adopted in the choice of the legislative mode, combining lawmaking, technological protection and self-regulation of the trades.
Secondly, international cooperation can be tried. Since this is an era of globalized economy and the Internet is an “open world”, international coordination is inevitable in the determination of jurisdiction of laws regulating the order of the Internet and in international judicial collaboration and etc. In the Internet era, the conflicts and contradictions between different institutions of privacy have become more prominent. For example, hacking has become a global problem; hackers in every country are seeking individual privacy and secrets of organizations and even governments and they have shown the tendency of acting across borders.
The academia’s view always is that to finally and effectively check violations of privacy in cyberspace, international collaborations must be strengthened to make unified standards against online violations of privacy and to act in a unified fashion.
At present, developed countries including European countries and the United States have carried out bilateral or multilateral collaborations to protect cyberspace privacy and have achieved some successes. For examples, member states of the European Union (EU) have long attached great importance to the protection of privacy: in 1973, Sweden promulgated the Swedish Data Act; in 1978, France promulgated the Act on Data Processing, Data Files and Individual Liberties; in 1984, UK made the Data Protection Act. Upon such historical background, the EU always has strived to promote the coordination and unification in protecting privacy among its member states and made a series of laws and regulations. On January 28, 1981, member states of the Council of Europe signed Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. In September 1990, the European Commission made the European Directive on Personal Data Protection. On September 15, 1997, the European Commission adopted the Telecommunications Privacy Directive as a supplement to the EU Data Protection Directive of 1995 with special emphasis on principles concerning security and privacy for telecommunications sectors.
In contrast, for conceptual, historical and cultural reasons, despite the fact that China has started to undertake bilateral and multilateral collaborations in protecting cyber privacy, it still has many deficiencies in this regard and has to make great efforts meet the needs of the era of the Internet without borders.
3. The acceptance of online media and the online civilization campaigns
In socialist China, it’s dialectically unified to run the country by combining the rule of law with the rule of virtue. In the domains that are not regulated or touched by laws and regulations, social ethics and morals have played a role that the law is not able to compete with. Such power of protection comes from the internal drive of people, which is conscious, extensive, steady, and active at anytime. Compared with external coercive power, such respect for cyber privacy from the bottom of one’s heart is undoubtedly more realistic. Therefore, social ethics and morals can play a role in protecting privacy, which the law, technology and administration are unable to do.
On the topic of the acceptance of the media, I want to particularly mention the issue of cultivating media savvy of minors. Only with school and social education supplemented by the building of cyber ethical self-regulation and civilization, can media savvy be enhanced and the continuous violations of privacy eradicated from their root.