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    Half Tones

    Personal Data Collected During COVID-19 Belongs to the People, Baidu CEO Says

    May 22, 2020

    The top tech executive at Baidu, China’s most widely used search engine, is calling for greater protection of citizens’ personal data collected as part of disease control measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Thursday.

    Robin Li, the CEO and founder of Baidu and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, specifically requested that people in China be given the chance to opt out of having their personal information stored in a central database. His proposal, submitted Thursday at the CPPCC’s annual meeting in Beijing, would not be legally binding if adopted.

    In recent months, China has seen several incidents of personal information breaches, despite experts’ calls for better privacy regulations. In a bid to control the coronavirus, the central government has pushed for the collection of large amounts of personal information through policies such as real-name registration at pharmacies and “color codes” for tracing close contacts of COVID-19 patients. (Image: People Visual)