After local police in Shaoxing, East China’s Zhejiang province, uncovered China’s largest data theft case in which 3 billion pieces of personal information were exploited for profit, a Chinese expert said on Thursday that crackdowns on such activities should be further intensified.
Beijing Ruizhi Huasheng Technology Corp illegally obtained 3 billion pieces of personal data from Chinese telecom operators and made a profit via the “eyeball economy” on China’s various social media platforms, according to media reports on Thursday, which cited a police announcement.
Ruizhi Huasheng is listed on China’s National Equities Exchange and Quotations, also known as China New Third Board.
Illegal activities engaged in by the company include maliciously gaining users’ “likes” and precision marketing. The activities involved 96 internet companies including big names such as Baidu Inc, Tencent, Alibaba and Beijing-based Jinri Toutiao.
A police investigation showed that failures in supervision and security regulations by telecom companies provided the loopholes that made such crimes possible, according to media reports.
Leading telecom operator China Mobile declined to comment on Thursday, and China Telecom was not available for comment.
Experts said the involvement of telecom companies and internet giants showed China’s systemic weakness in the protection of user information.
Xin Haiguang, a senior IT commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday that more attention should be paid to commercial activities based on personal data, such as bank accounts as well as less vital information including users’ browsing habits.
“Lawmakers should provide more legal clarity and law enforcement agencies should crack down on all such cases and impose severe punishment,” according to Xin.