Regulator cracks down on malls for excessive data collection

Hu Min
Shanghai's cybersecurity and market regulator has ordered shopping malls to stop gathering too much personal data from parking ticket payers.
Hu Min

Shanghai's cybersecurity and market regulator on Friday ordered two shopping malls to stop collecting excessive amounts of consumers' personal information during parking charge payments.

The Shanghai Consumer Council said that nearly half of the 140 shopping malls in the city had privacy issues when consumers scanned QR codes to pay parking fees.

During an inspection, Bailian Youyicheng in Wujiaochang, Yangpu District, was found tricking consumers into registering for membership, following its official WeChat account, and agreeing to the third party's privacy policy when they paid parking fees.

Hopson One, another local mall, tricked customers into following its WeChat account and joining.

The two shopping malls were ordered to rectify the collection of consumers' personal information, comply with legislation, and prevent leakage of information.

Shanghai's cybersecurity authorities say misleading consumers into joining or following WeChat accounts for parking fees violates personal information protection laws.

They have ordered malls and parking lot owners to issue direct payment QR codes and stop collecting personal data.

Regulator cracks down on malls for excessive data collection
Ti Gong

A page requests more information than just payment.

A citywide inspection will be conducted to address the issue, and netizens are advised to notify authorities by calling 12315 and 12345 if they notice any irregularities.

A Shanghai Consumer Council undercover investigation found that 27 shopping malls compelled users to register for mandatory membership and requested personal information like their name and mobile phone numbers when they scanned a code to pay the fees.

Some of the offenders on the list included SML Center, BFC, Aegean Place, Super Brand Mall, Longemont Shopping Mall, and Huaihai 755.

The council said another 33 shopping malls, including iapm, Réel Mall, and Shanghai IFC, are tricking consumers into following their WeChat accounts as a requirement to pay parking costs.

The list also includes Fengshengli, Pudong Kerry Parkside, and Changning Raffles.

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