On April 19, 2019, China’s Ministry of Public Security (“MPS”) released the final version of its Guideline for Internet Personal Information Security Protection (互联网个人信息安全保护指南) (the “Guideline”).  A previous version of the Guideline was released for public comments on November 30, 2018.

Under China’s Cybersecurity Law (the “CSL”), MPS is the key regulator tasked with protecting cybersecurity and combating cybercrime.  Following the issuance of the draft Regulations on Cybersecurity Multi-level Protection Scheme (the “Draft MLPS Regulation”, discussed in our previous post available here) and the Regulation on the Internet Security Supervision and Inspection by Public Security Agencies (also discussed in a previous post, available here) last year, the release of this new Guideline represents the latest efforts made by MPS to implement the CSL.

The stated goal of the Guideline is to “protect cybersecurity and individuals’ legitimate interests” and to “effectively prevent cybercrime involving personal information.”  Although not issued as a legally binding administrative regulation, this Guideline sets out the best practices recommended by MPS and will likely serve as an important reference for cybersecurity inspections that will be carried out by the agency and its local counterparts (i.e., local public security bureaus, “PSBs”).

To a large extent, this Guideline overlaps with China’s national standard on personal information protection, GB/T 35273-2017 Information Security Technology – Personal Information Security Specification (the “Standard”), which took effect on May 1, 2018.  The Guideline referred to the Standard as its “indispensable” reference, although at this stage, it is unclear how this Guideline will interact with other existing regulations and national standards.  Furthermore, this new Guideline provides more prescriptive requirements relating to a company’s cybersecurity infrastructure, both in terms of organizational support and technical measures to be implemented.

This post summarizes key requirements of the Guideline.

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