Dong Sh., Li X.

Title of article

Protection of user’s personal information on social networks: dilemmas of law enforcement practice in China


Comparative studies and foreign experience

Issue, year

4 (34) 2015


The results of the study of characteristic features of social networks in the light of ensuring privacy, protection from criminal encroachments and potential victimization of users in China and other countries of the world are presented. The definition of social networks is given. The tendency of increase in social networking crimes is shown. Various risks and threats to personal user information posted on social networks are analyzed: besides its deliberate disclosure, passive disclosure of such information is also widespread due to the underestimation of threats (unauthorized access to accounts, hacking and violating privacy, the abuse of anonymity of users). Network communication is a subject to various privacy threats: both previously known and new ones. Taking into account the law enforcement practice of China and the experience of other countries, two approaches to ensure privacy in networks are presented (the first one is based on the anonymity of users, the second one – on their real identification). Dilemmas in the field of protection of user information and mode of use of the service are inherent in both approaches. The situation is complicated by significant differences in social and cultural traditions of users and legal and political concepts of different states. In terms of differences in national legislation it’s impossible to create some transnational rules. In this case the international initiative depends on the best way to protect  the confidentiality and more successful law enforcement. Only practice can answer the question of whether such protection should be based on the anonymity of user or require universal real identification.


social networks; security; commission of crime; confidentiality; personal information; law enforcement practice in China.


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