Baidu accused of illegally obtaining user data

The Chinese search engine Baidu is facing legal action for illegally obtaining user data. It stands accused of collecting data such as messages, contacts and locations without the prior consent of users. The allegations relate to Baidu's browser and its search app. Jiangsu Consumer Council, who filed the complaint against Baidu, says that the data collected is not necessary for Baidu to deliver its services, and therefore goes beyond what is reasonable without obtaining consent. Baidu has responded by claiming that the data falls “within the scope of reasonable use”. Local media sources are saying that the case against Baidu goes far beyond the individual company, and is aimed at making the entire Chinese app industry more aware of the need to protect consumer privacy.