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Personal data protection in the credit-scoring industry of China
China accounts for nearly half of the global digital payment market and three quarters of online lending transactions. With personal data as the new collateral, leaders now use alternative data (traceable personal information related to e-commerce sites, apps) to make decisions on investing and lending, instead of relying only on the traditional credit record. Credit-scoring service providers have also begun adopting alternative data for creditworthiness evaluation. While offering many benefits, the use of alternative data for financial decisions also raises significant data protection and privacy concerns, including meaningless consent, excessive collection of personal information, lack of transparency, loss of control by individuals, and manipulation of human behaviour. These issues are common around the world, but with different laws and regulations and social development background. This paper will examine China’s Big Data credit-scoring industry’s personal data-protection status, current legislative supervision and innovative technology, and their drawbacks. The paper concludes with a discussion of responses and suggestions for the field.
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Arlene Zhang is a researcher in the Data Law Research Center and Cyber Law Academy (Shanghai and Hangzhou), mainly in personal data protection and network security domestically and internationally. She is also a lawyer with a background in computer science and software engineering. She has been involved in assisting Fortune 500 companies in managing their data compliance and cybersecurity since 2018. She helped multinationals understand legal implications and implement the necessary compliance controls to reduce their likelihood of facing any enforcement actions in China. Arlene is a graduate of the Peking University of Computer Science and achieved her Juris master’s degree in East China University of Political Science and Law.