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11,000 held in China for misuse of citizens’ personal info

PTI | Beijing |

Chinese police have detained more than 11,000 suspects during the past two years for alleged misuse of citizens’ personal information.

Wang Shengjun, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), called the task of protecting Internet users’ personal information “grim.”

“Illegal industrial chains have taken shape in some places, which involve illegal collection, theft, sale and use of Internet users’ personal information,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying today.

Some Internet companies and public service agencies have stored large amounts of personal information, but security protection lags behind in a major way, making them easy targets, according to the report.

“Serious leaks of personal information have led to an increase in fraud targeting victims with high precision,” Wang noted.

More than 11,000 suspects in over 3,700 cases have been detained during the past two years for alleged misuse of citizens’ personal information.

The report was based on investigations between August and October to assess the Cybersecurity Law that took effect on June 1, and a decision on protection of online information introduced five years ago.

The decision includes an identity management policy requiring users to use their real names to identify themselves to service providers, including Internet or telecommunications operators.

Over the past five years, telecommunications operators have suspended services to more than 10 million users who refused to register their real names.

Wang proposed speeding up work on a new law, standardising the scope and means of verifying identity, better supervision and harsher penalties.

China’s Internet users increased at the fastest pace in three years as the abundant availability of Internet-enabled smart phones spurred usage and increased the penetration rate, according to a media report.

As of June, there were 3.89 billion Internet users around the world, of which 751 million were in China, the world’s most populous nation, it said.

The enormous number of web users has created room for risk takers in e-commerce, mobile payments and other emerging areas to stretch their wings.