Didi, the “Chinese Uber”, fined 1.2 billion euros for analyzing passenger data without their knowledge

The Chinese Internet Regulatory Authority, Thursday, July 21, imposed a fine of 1.2 billion euros on the local leader of chauffeur-driven vehicles (VTC) in China, Didi, whom it accuses in particular of committing violations of personal data security.

And so China’s Uber, the leader in chauffeur-drive cars in the Chinese market, is subject to China’s takeover of the technology sector, which began nearly two years ago. The China Cyberspace Administration (CAC) states in its press release that it has done so ‘Indisputable proof’ Didi has repeatedly violated Chinese law, including Internet security and personal data protection.

The fine, set at 8.03 billion yuan (approximately 1.2 billion euros), represents more than 4% of the company’s annual turnover in 2021. In a press release, the regulator, for example, criticized Didi for improperly storing personal data Legal information on more than 57 million drivers in an insufficiently secure format.

VTC has also been accused of analyzing passenger data without their knowledge, including photos on their mobile phones. “Although regulators have ordered reforms [des pratiques de Didi]No general and in-depth corrections were made., regrets the Chinese Cyberspace Administration. It alleges violations of the law spanned seven years from June 2015.

Read also: Didi, China’s Uber, announces its exit from Wall Street

Administrative investigation

Big digital companies have, since 2020, been in the sights of Chinese authorities, who are stepping up strikes against powerful internet groups for competition and personal data matters. Chinese startups have long been encouraged to fund themselves through initial public offerings in the United States.

In 2014, the online commerce company Alibaba raised on Wall Street $25 billion, then signed the largest IPO of all time. But in the context of increasing confrontation with the United States, especially in the technological field, China is now encouraging its nuggets to seek funding on national stock exchanges (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen or even Beijing).

Unlike many of his countrymen, Didi, in June 2021, maintained a fundraiser in New York. The stubbornness dismayed Beijing, which was particularly wary of transferring sensitive data to US soil. Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities have opened an administrative investigation against Didi, in connection with the collection of his personal data.

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Two years of regulatory tightening

VTC app downloads have also been blocked – an unprecedented measure targeting a major technology group. However, people who already have it on their smartphone can still use it. Under pressure, Didi finally announced, in December, his withdrawal from the New York Stock Exchange, just five months after listing.

However, this regulatory fine announced Thursday against VTC is seen as a positive signal for companies working in the tech space, and is a kind of conclusion to the screw-up that was launched in 2020. After nearly two years of regulatory tightening, Beijing already confirmed that it supported the digital economy in April, raising hopes of reconciliation with the sector.

The government has also received several chiefs in recent weeks, an initiative seen as a reassuring signal directed at powerful companies in the internet sector.

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The world with AFP

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