Tech

Data-Leak Of Influential Chinese Figures A Statement Of Defiance?

By Melvin Alfred Wong , May 16, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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There was a major data-leak recently when a Twitter account started posting texts and images, supposedly containing critical information about influential Chinese individuals. The tweets, which have since been removed, included state ID numbers and addresses. The authenticity of the information leaked has not yet been confirmed, but it would appear that the motivation behind the action was a statement of defiance.

One of the people whose information was supposedly leaked is Jack Ma, the founder of the online merchant giant, Alibaba. Others include Pan Shiyi, a prominent Beijing real estate developer, Wang Jianling, the wealthiest man in the country and Hu Xijin, the editor of the state-run media outlet Global Times.

In a rather ironic twist, Fang Binxing, the architect behind the China's Great Firewall is also one of the victims of the leak. The Great Firewall is basically the country's premier method of Internet censorship.

A report by Tech in Asia included a tweet by the user behind the account who wrote, "Are you surprised by this information? I hope this will make my countrymen think about how worthless their personal privacy is, so that even the whereabouts of the rich and famous can be easily monitored."

In China, one's state ID number is comparable to the Social Security numbers of US citizens. As such, the information is kept private due to concerns about identity theft and other potentially malicious uses by unsavory characters.

Should the information in this data-leak prove to be accurate, it could have disastrous consequences for the corresponding individuals. State ID numbers could be used for everything from bank transfers to confirming online transactions.

The Twitter account has been suspended, and all corresponding tweets from said account have been deleted. However, there are still copies of the texts and photos circulating the web via screenshots of the account before the suspension. A copy of the page via a web-cached version also exists.

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