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A comparative study of online privacy regulations in the U.S. and China


  • Wu, Yanfang
  • Lau, Tuenyu
  • Atkin, David J.
  • Lin, Carolyn A.


Online privacy seeks to protect the identity of individuals who use the internet to collect information or express opinions. However, given the proliferating vehicles through which one's identity can be ascertained, the question remains as to what policies can most effectively protect personal identity. This paper explores the similarities and differences with online privacy regulation in the United States and China. The scope of privacy measures examined here ranges from government to personal levels, from communication and finance to personal records, for adults and children. As might be expected in a democracy, American legislative initiatives are more comprehensive and far-reaching than those of their Chinese counterparts. In China, there was until recently no specific right of privacy specified in dedicated legislation, with privacy having been instead protected under the right of reputation in the Civil law. Policy implications stemming from these competing models are evaluated. Study findings underscore the notion that privacy should be a universally established individual right, and that both countries are moving--at least in rhetorical terms--to strengthen it as such.

Suggested Citation

  • Wu, Yanfang & Lau, Tuenyu & Atkin, David J. & Lin, Carolyn A., 2011. "A comparative study of online privacy regulations in the U.S. and China," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 603-616, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:35:y:2011:i:7:p:603-616

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    Cited by:

    1. Yunchu Huang & Chang-Gyu Yang & Heon Baek & Sang-Gun Lee, 2016. "Revisiting media selection in the digital era: adoption and usage," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 10(1), pages 239-260, March.


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