Chinese People Don’t Care About Privacy Online: Is That True?

Chinese people are widely thought to be more open to privacy issues. In most cases, they are willing to enjoy convenience and efficiency on the Internet at the price of privacy. They often hand over their personal information to various service providers.

Is that true?

They have no choice but to compromise on it

It is the age of information. There are numerous services on the Internet that bring convenience to users. Most websites and apps have privacy policies. But Internet users can’t use their services until they agree with these privacy policies. They have to provide some personal information to enjoy various services. For example, when they order takeout or a taxi, they need to expose their location info to service providers. To get more accurate news feed, they should allow others to track their reading histories. What’s worse, their shopping histories are also exposed so that they can get customized product recommendations.

location sharing

Can Chinese people say no?

No, they can’t. That is to say, whether they want to or not, they can only use privacy to gain convenience. 

Nevertheless, all websites and apps are not able to provide better services even with users’ private data and don’t provide protection to user data they’ve collected. According to some researches, more than half of these service providers offer an unreasonable privacy policy. Customized recommendations bother Chinese users a lot. Let alone data breaches. Websites and apps generally take no measures to protect user data from data breaches. Once users fill in their private information to get better services, they have no idea whose hands will their information end up in. Therefore, there is no need for users to sacrifice their privacy for convenience and efficiency. They shouldn’t trust websites and apps to protect the information they entered.

Many Chinese are not sensitive enough to private information being collected by websites and apps

On the one hand, Chinese users often ignore the user agreement and privacy policy displayed while they install an app. Generally, the first time a user opens an app will be asked to agree to the user agreement and privacy policy. The app may also request permission to access the user’s location, camera and so on. At the same time, the user will be told that user data collected will only be used to improve service. It is true that most Chinese users choose to confirm these terms without reading them. They are just eager to use the app.

On the other hand, Chinese users have no choice but to accept these terms to use the service. As they enjoy the convenience and efficiency in your life, their information is also stored, analyzed and shared with the relevant service companies. Thus, they also hesitate whether to give up using these services or sacrifice some private data for convenience and efficiency. Most of them choose to compromise on privacy. Private data includes basic personal information, shopping habits, bank details, driving records and so on. Based on the above data, even more information such as personal income, family members and personality can be analyzed. They are nearly naked on the Internet.

Over time, they become accustomed to agreeing to these terms. They even enter their sensitive information to get services with no hesitation. So, they are no longer sensitive to such kind of information gathering.

Google allows users to customize privacy settings on their accounts

Google privacy settings

Compared with websites and apps in China, at least Google gives its users the right to choose. Google has an overview of privacy which tells you how it uses your private data. If you want to know more, you can read details in the privacy policy. For example, what information is collected, what technology is used and so on. It will also tell you whether your private data collected by it will be shared with other companies or organizations, in what way and for what purposes. And it will ask for your permission to share your sensitive information.

If you don’t like the way it collects your private data, you can turn it on or off in privacy settings. Although you disable some of the functions, you are still able to use various Google services. You can also delete information that you don’t want it to record. Even if Google wants to show you ads, it still allows you to choose the ads you want to watch and avoid those you don’t want to see. There are still many other settings, you can adjust them according to your needs. Isn’t is convenient and useful?

In addition, virtual private work that is widely used to protect personal privacy and security online is banned in China.


Do Chinese users care about their privacy? The answer is “Yes”. They are just blackmailed to accept information collection. If there is a choice, they also want to keep their privacy to themselves and enjoy better services on the Internet.

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