According to two people familiar with Didi, Chinese Internet regulators require multiple changes to the map function of Didi’s app before it goes public in the United States, fearing that it might reveal sensitive government locations.
A person familiar with the matter said that the National Internet Information Office and Didi often communicated with each other and made more than 20 requests for changes to the applications implemented by Didi.
People familiar with the matter said that CAC did not link the mobile app changes to any request to postpone the initial public offering. CAC has issued rectification notices to companies many times, but has not taken down its applications.
But the regulator Caught investors off guard It was suddenly announced on Sunday that the Didi Taxi app “has a serious violation of the law concerning the collection and use of personal information” and ordered it to be removed from the mobile app store.
The announcement was made less than a week after the company raised $4.4 billion in the largest Chinese initial public offering in the United States since 2014. Caused Didi’s share price to plummet And it led investors to file lawsuits for the company’s disclosure of regulatory risks.
This case reveals how national security and data security have become Beijing’s interrelated priorities. Beijing is increasingly concerned about the power that large technology platforms exercise by controlling the data of hundreds of millions of users. It also highlights the difficulties faced by companies trying to comply with law enforcement decisions that are usually opaque.
In the past year, CAC has carried out mobile application rectification activities and issued public warnings to hundreds of applications that are believed to abuse personal information or collect more information than they should.
“When CAC requires companies to make changes to their applications, there is usually no clear legal basis. CAC never feels that they need to follow formal administrative legal procedures, but the company takes them very seriously. Communication is usually random and over the phone Yes,” said an insider.
The person added that rectification requests are usually handled at the operational level, not at the top of the company. It is unclear whether the regulator has formally requested Didi.
China is still improving its personal information protection law, which will allow CAC to formalize its application review process.
Before the IPO, CAC did not publicly warn Didi’s ride-hailing app.
“CAC often makes various requests to Chinese application companies, from content review to personal data collection, which is usually not a big deal-you make a change and it will fail,” a venture capitalist recently listed in the United States- China Application Corporation.
People familiar with the matter said that in its request to Didi, CAC hopes to change the way its apps collect and display map information. When the user opens the app, it will suggest nearby common pick-up points based on passenger needs.
People familiar with the matter said that CAC is concerned that this may inadvertently reveal the workplace of sensitive government personnel.
Didi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Didi has blocked users from searching for sensitive political locations, such as Zhongnanhai, where the Beijing leader lives.
Two people familiar with the matter said that in addition to these mobile application rectification requests, CAC also recommended that Didi postpone the IPO until it conducts a cyber security review. CAC does not have the legal power to postpone the IPO, and the company denies that it knew that the regulator was prepared to intervene before the IPO.
CAC issued a draft public comment regulation on the protection of personal data by mobile apps in April, which will give it the right to delete apps from the app store within 40 working days.