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China suspends Didi Global app amid user privacy concerns

Countries across the globe are working to tighten restrictions and expand their control over tech biggies and social media companies, especially in light of the growing awareness and weariness over user data collection. And China undoubtedly is a world leader in terms of the measures it has taken to curb the monopoly of tech firms, apparently as a means of keeping its citizens safe (the claims are often unsubstantiated though, as the country has frequently been called out for tracking its people). And now, news has arrived that the Didi Global app has been suspended in the Asian  nation, on account of clues regarding illicit collection of users’ private data.

Comply with Rules: China to Didi

Smartphone makers across China has been directed to drop the app from their models, and Didi itself has been asked to make appropriate changes in accordance with with Chinese Data Protection Rules.

The news that the Didi Global app is blocked, was announced by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), four days after the company raised a whopping $4.4 billion in an initial public offering at the New York Stock Exchange. However, the nature of the violation has not been specified.

CAC bans Didi Global app

Image Credits: Wikipedia

Didi Global has responded to the suspension, saying that for now, registration of new users has come to a standstill, and the app will be removed from the app stores of various phone companies. Changes will also be made so as to comply with the CAC’s directions, and to better protect the rights of its users.

Following the IPO, which took place on Wednesday, Didi was placed at a value of $67.5 billion, missing its target of $100 billion by a landslide.

The move by China’s the Cyberspace watchdog came after it first announced an investigation in the firm, over issues pertaining to “national security and the public interest”.

Aggressive Move, Says Expert

The Didi Global app has been a player in the Chinese market for the past many years, and has been known to collect large amounts of user data on a daily, real-time basis. Some of the data collected goes into traffic analysis and development of autonomous driving tech. Still, it is widely used in the country for providing app-based transport options, from hailing taxis to private cars, and bikes to share rides.

The company was founded in 2012 by Will Cheng, and during its nine year long life, this won’t be the first time that it has had to face the wrath of Chinese regulatory agencies. Nevertheless, the move by the Cyberspace watchdog has been deemed to be “aggressuve” this time around, by Kirk Boodry, director at Redex Researcher.

The expert says that while the full suspension might take quite a while, long term effects will most likely be “muted”, thanks to a “large installed base.”




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