New law on internet services addressing competition and personal information protection

On 29 December 2011, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology ("MIIT"), the internet and telecoms industry regulator promulgated the Regulating the Internet Information Service Market Order Several Provisions (the "Internet Information Service Provisions"). The Internet Information Service Provisions will become effective on 15 March 2012 and will be administered by MIIT.

The Internet Information Service Provisions, which primarily address unfair competition issues and the processing of personal data, represent a significant step by China to prescribe the boundaries of acceptable practice on the internet.

This note provides a summary of certain key aspects of the Internet Information Service Provisions. The note questions whether this well-intentioned, on the face of it consumer-friendly piece of legislation is likely to achieve either of its twin goals of protecting the consumer and curbing the prevalence of abusive market behaviour in cyberspace.

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