Chinese tech giants Tencent and Xiaomi have been reprimanded by Beijing for designing apps that infringe on users’ privacy.
China has recently tightened its privacy of companies that gather data from consumers.
China as well exercises close surveillance of online activity.
Xiaomi Finance and Tencent’s instant messaging service QQ were among dozens of problematic apps named and shamed by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
QQ forces users to allow the app to track their usage habits so it can show targeted ads, the ministry said in a statement.
If users do not give up their phone permissions, they cannot access the app at all, it added.
Warning of punishment called if the privacy issues not fixed by December 31.
Smartphone maker Xiaomi’s finance app created “difficulty” for users looking to cancel their account.
The ministry’s full list included software from a Beijing public library as well as grocery delivery and train-booking services.
It reflects that how widely apps have permeated everyday life in China.
It said more than 8,000 apps “rectified” as part of a national push to protect users’ rights.
Tencent is China’s leading online video game company as well as a giant in messaging and myriad other apps.
Earlier, a face-swapping app named Zao quickly became one of China’s most downloaded apps.
It also triggered a backlash over privacy fears.
The app allowed users to insert themselves into scenes from well-known movies using “deepfake” technology.
It will give “free, irrevocable, permanent and transferable ” rights to all user-generated content.
Meanwhile in November, a Chinese professor filed a claim against a safari park in the eastern city of Hangzhou for requiring face scans for entry.
On December 1, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology rolled out a requirement for telecom operators to collect customers’ face scans when registering new phone users at offline stores.
The new requirement caused some Chinese social media users to voice concerns their biometric data could leak.