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'Invisible' waybills promise better personal information protection

China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-28 07:32

CHINESE DELIVERY COMPANIES will reportedly stop using waybills that have customers' names, addresses, and mobile numbers on the parcels, in an attempt to better protect customers' privacy. Beijing News commented on Monday:

In the coming months online shoppers will no longer need to worry about other people gaining personal information from the waybills on parcels. Recipients' addresses and phone numbers will be encrypted so they can only be accessed by authorized persons .

The rise of China's express delivery industry has added to the risk of compromising customers' personal information, some of which can be easily acquired from the waybills on their parcels. Given that real-name registration is now required to use express delivery services, the express companies need to better protect customers' privacy.

Earlier this year a Beijing express company managed to develop "invisible" waybills using a smartphone app so they were only accessible to the company's employees with the special app. Such innovations should be promoted nationwide and adopted by all express delivery companies.

But that is not enough to make sure personal details are immune from peeping eyes. Take online shopping for example. Customers' information will unavoidably be accessed by online shops, express delivery companies and couriers, and there is no guarantee that all the links in the chain are secure. Once customers' privacy is compromised they are faced with a variety of troubles ranging from targeted telecom fraud to repeated phone call harassment.

To keep "information thieves" at bay requires the enforcers to better protect people's personal information and crack down on underground exchanges of it. On their part, online shoppers should be aware of the risks of giving away their information, and refrain from offering too many details while placing orders online.

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