Chinese police make 96 arrests in latest operation against personal data theft

Laura Zhou reports:

Chinese police have arrested 96 suspects over data theft, in a case that exposes the challenges facing the country from a rampant trade in citizen’s private information, the state broadcaster reported.

In one of the biggest operations of its kind, police raided sites in 14 provinces including Anhui, Henan and Liaoning, as well as in Beijing, according to China Central Television.

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One of the main suspects, surnamed Zheng, was an engineer at Beijing-based JD.com, one of the largest e-commerce companies on the mainland.

Police said that Zheng began to steal data from websites after earning the trust of his supervisors. After appropriating the data, Zheng would quit his job and find another one where he continued his theft.

Zheng’s qualifications enabled him to find jobs easily, mostly at large, well-known websites, where he had access to more personal data, police said.

Read more on South China Morning Post.

In related news, Chinese lawmakers are calling for greater protection for personal information. Xinhua News reports:

China’s Ministry of Public Security said on Friday that police in 2016 arrested 4,261 suspects in 1,886 cases related to infringement of personal information.

Among the suspects, 391 were insiders in industries including banking, education, telecommunications, delivery services, the stock market and e-commerce, said the ministry.

The Internet Society of China estimated junk messages, leaked personal information and fraud led to losses of about 91.5 billion yuan (about 13.2 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016.

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