China Business

Privacy in China

International data privacy lawyers

Two interesting articles just out on privacy in China. One, a Seoul Times article written by US trained international attorney, Yuho Kim, Data Security, Privacy in Asia, comparing the privacy laws of Korea, China, and Japan. The other, a Forbes article, Who Will Be Watching You In Beijing? discussing how China spies on foreigners and what can be done to minimize the repercussions of that.

There are widely differing views regarding the extent of Chinese spying on foreigners, in large part because few really know.

I have always assumed this goes on to a certain extent in just about every country I visit, including China, and I try to act accordingly. I have clients (from Russia, in particular), who never reveal anything at all important over the phone and who when traveling internationally bring “second” laptops that have been scrubbed clean for the trip.

For most people none of this is really much of a concern, but I do think it wise to at least think about this and to plan accordingly, when it makes sense to do so.

What do you think?

8 responses to “Privacy in China”

  1. If you plan to go to CH leave your electronic gadgets at home, or bring sanitized ones. Specially if you are in a business which CH may find enticing.

  2. Many people assume that their communications with their lawyers on legal matters are confidential.
    What advice would you give to a prospective client who needs to keep his China-related communications with his/her law firm confidential?
    Thank you.

  3. “Two Chinese officials caught spying on the Danish women’s football team”
    Hhhmm…. Were they just looking at the exotic foreign women?
    Maybe it was just a case of voyeurism. 😉

  4. The only real way of being sure of keeping your IP from the opposition is a properly locked office with card entry inside a secure compound. All digital cameras, iPods etc. should be banned on pain of dismissal, and no information of any kind should leave the office. Even this won’t stop ‘researchers’ offering not-insubstantial bribes to your employees for sensitive stuff, but it will make people think twice about accepting such bribes.

  5. “Hire a very reputable Chinese lawyer.”
    One problem that I have with the Chinese language is that some terms get “Lost in Translation”. One of these terms is the term “lawyer”.
    In a Western system of law, you have the concept of the separation of powers. For lawyers in the West, this separation is reinforced by creating a professional class of people called “lawyers” backed by various duties including the duty of maintaining client confidentiality.
    In China, there is no separation of powers. There is only a unitary concept of power. Thus, these Chinese people that we refer to as “lawyers” are basically “state legal workers”. Unfortunately, when we translate the term “lushi” as lawyer, it may have the effect of confusing people.
    The problem is that if a foreign lawyer shares client information (without the client’s consent) with someone who is not really a lawyer in the Western sense, or, more problematic still, with someone who has a duty to report information to certain 3rd parties, then is the duty to maintain client confidentiality breached?

  6. Above, where I refer to “the client’s consent”, I mean the client’s informed consent.
    In the Chinese context, how can a lawyer make sure that the client is “informed” about a system that is so very different? How can the client’s consent ever truly be “informed” in the Chinese context?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *