Alipay apologizes for sharing user data with Sesame Credit by default
China's credit scoring system Sesame Credit apologized on Wednesday to Alipay users for accessing user's personal information by default when they opened their annual spending report from Alipay, reports thepaper.cn.
Alipay has provided its users with an annual spending report at the beginning of every year since 2013. [Photo: thepaper.cn]
The apology from Sesame Credit comes in response to an uproar from Alipay users after news of the problem raised concerns that the company was sharing its users' information without their consent.
The controversy erupted on Wednesday shortly after Alipay gave users the option to see a report on their spending in 2017. At the bottom of the page where the report is accessed was a small tick-box giving permission for their data to be shared between Alipay and Sesame Credit and signed them up to the Sesame Credit service agreement. The box was ticked by default.
Sesame Credit is a credit-scoring service developed by Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba. It uses data from Alibaba's services, like online purchases, to compile a score ranging from 350 to a possible 950. The rewards of having a high score include easier access to loans and renting houses without a deposit.
"It was not right to set this default option in our users' annual spending report. Our users have the right to know that their annual spending report could be shared with Sesame Credit. We did this with good will but put it into practice poorly", Sesame Credit said in a message to customers on its Weibo account.
The company also said users' privacy and personal information remain of great importance, and that they collect data only with user's consent and in accordance with the law.