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Safeguard Privacy
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These days it's quite common for people to receive advertising via phone calls, text messages or e-mails. But what's worrying is how their personal information falls into the hands of strangers.

Is that what the information age is about? Of course not, but that seems to be the reality.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid interruptions from advertisers.

A mother who's just given birth is bombarded by phone calls asking whether she wants milk powder for her newborn.

People lose money and property to swindlers after personal information is unintentionally or deliberately leaked.

It is high time to legislate to protect our personal information.

The State Council has begun drafting a law to this effect.

Many people are unclear about where the line is when it comes to the use of personal information.

Individuals are not allowed to read their personal files, such as banking and personal credit records. Only those in charge of the files know what's in them. Many do not know whether they have the right to see their files.

This is unreasonable. When an individual has no right to check their own files, there is a chance that information could be fabricated and used to frame them. In this case, the individual's personal information is not being well protected.

Therefore, an individual's right to know what is in their files should also be included under the protection of personal information legislation.

As telecommunications and Internet technology rapidly progress, individuals are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the manipulation of their personal information by institutions.

A law is vital to specify where the line is for institutions in handling personal information.

Granted, some areas such as public security departments, scientific research institutions and the media sometimes have to use personal information without permission. But it is hoped the new law will help protect our personal information from being misused.

(China Daily August 5, 2007)

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