AIGC related apps that have been removed from the Apple China App Store
AIGC related apps that have been removed from the Apple China App Store

On August 1st, the Apple App Store China removed several ChatGPT-related applications due to content that violated Chinese laws and regulations. This action is a result of the Chinese government tightening regulations on Deep Synthesis Technology (DST) and generative AI services. To operate in China’s AI market, service providers must obtain a license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China.

Notification from Apple App Store China about removing certain AIGC related apps
Notification from Apple App Store China about removing certain AIGC related apps

On July 13, 2023, China’s National Internet Information Office, along with other government bodies, issued the “Generation Interim Measures for the Administration of Artificial Intelligence Services,” effective from August 15, 2023.

In this new “Measures”, Generative AI (Generative AI, hereinafter referred to as “AIGC”) technology refers to models and related technologies with the ability to generate text, pictures, audio, video and other content. The data compliance issues involved in the full life cycle of AIGC are very complex. The main stages include model training, application operation and model optimization, and usually involve AIGC developers, service providers, service users and other parties.

Compliance with Chinese laws is crucial for AI service providers. The “Measures” require AIGC service providers to use legally sourced data and models. Enterprises should conduct due diligence on data providers, sign data processing agreements, and ensure personal information compliance. Cross-border services must meet specific export requirements.

Managing Data Source Risk

According to Chapter 2, Article 7 of the “Measures”, it mandates AIGC service providers to use legally sourced data and basic models.

In practice, AIGC developers may train their own models by introducing third-party (data provider) data, or through joint modeling (but partner data will not be provided to AIGC developers). In the scenario where AIGC developers indirectly collect data from data providers for model training, the core is to ensure the legal compliance of data sources.

Compliance measures for enterprises dealing with data providers include:

  • Verifying the data provider’s legal basis for data provision, including model cooperation.

  • Signing data processing agreements or adding data protection clauses to contracts.
  • Conducting compliance due diligence on data providers, ensuring security capabilities, and legal compliance.

Addressing Personal Information Compliance

Article 11 of the “Measures” emphasizes personal information protection, prohibiting illegal retention and provision.

Compliance challenges faced by AIGC developers/service providers include:

  • Ensuring transparency and legality by informing users of personal information processing rules.

  • Addressing cross-border personal information transfer issues through assessments and disclosure.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT privacy policy collects user data for model optimization, which is why apps related to ChatGPT were removed from AppStore.

Security Assessment and Algorithm Filing

Providers with public opinion attributes or social mobilization capabilities must conduct security assessments and file algorithms accordingly.

Additional compliance obligations for providers:

  • Processing legality, content identification, and algorithm correction for training data.

  • Formulating service agreements, use mechanisms, and complaint handling systems.

Cooperating with Regulatory Agencies

Relevant departments will supervise and inspect generative AI services. Providers must cooperate, explain data source details, and provide necessary technology and support.

The “Interim Measures” establish a legal foundation for generative AI service development in China. As generative AI technology evolves, additional compliance requirements may emerge.

As overseas company ventures into China’s AI market, being well-informed about these regulations and ensuring compliance with Chinese laws will be essential for your success and reputation in the region.

If you are considering entering China, you can also choose to work with an experienced local third-party service provider such as 21YunBox to ensure your compliance. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your business succeed in China.

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