Regulating algorithms to protect your interests

BEIJING, Sept. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by on China's recent draft regulations on algorithm recommendation:

Here are some scenarios that most people are familiar with: Searching for products on a shopping app leads to relevant ads "magically appearing" on your social media. Or when watching short videos on your phone, you may find that they are just to your taste and you just cannot stop.

The recommendation algorithms that can "read your mind" actually expose acute problems such as privacy leaks and data security. In response, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released the draft Regulations on the Management of Internet Information Service Recommendation Algorithms to solicit opinions from the public. The regulations include 30 points, covering rules such as those to protect minors and provide users the option to turn off recommendation services.

Nowadays, science and technology provides people with an unprecedented wealth of information and experiences. However, its unchecked and chaotic development could cause great harm. A majority of recommendations are harmless enough. But people often hear news about teenagers, who lack a mature worldview and outlook on life and values, getting injured while imitating what they see in popular short videos. If content containing smoking and drinking, violence, and distorted values are repeatedly recommended, then copied by minors, it will also result in particularly adverse consequences.

Interest-based recommendation algorithms can easily lead to users being "cocooned" and limiting their access to other information. Therefore, it's vital to give users more choice. Lots of recommendation algorithms can induce users with a variety of content in diverse forms, ranging from product advertisements to material influencing people's political opinions. For instance, Facebook and Google were previously accused of intensifying political polarization. If algorithms are used for improper competition, what people see and think will become presumptions of the "manipulators", which runs counter to the ideals of fairness and justice.

Nowadays, information and data security affect every aspect of everyday lives and are essential to everyone. Thus, it's imperative that these algorithms are regulated, as is the case in every other country. On Sept. 1, the Data Security Law officially came into effect in China, aiming to better safeguard data security as well as the legal rights and interests of citizens and organizations.

In the internet age, privacy and data security issues know no borders, and so China has taken steps to explore the protection of data security. There are enough reasons to believe that a safer and more objective cyberspace can be created through the consultation and cooperation between China and the rest of the world.

China Mosaic
Regulating algorithms to protect your interests