Chinese regulator rebukes Ant Financial for automatic credit scoring enrollment


In January 2018 the Cyberspace Administration of China summoned representatives of Ant Financial Services Group, a subsidiary of Alibaba, to rebuke them for automatically enrolling its 520 million users in its credit-scoring system. The main complaint was that people using Ant's Alipay service were not properly notified that enrolling in the credit-scoring system would also grant Ant the right to share their personal financial data, including information about their income, savings, and shopping habits, with third parties. The regulator said the policy violates China's new national data protection standard and broke a pledge the company signed in 2017 to protect this type of information. Ant has been ordered to fix the system ensure it doesn't happen again. Ant, which dropped a planned acquisition of Dallas-based MoneyGram International after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US refused to approve the deal, apologised to its users. Ant's Sesame Credit is one of the new rating systems emerging in China, where the government intends to spread social scoring throughout society. The case is also an example of Chinese people's increasing concerns about data privacy.
Author: Josh Chin