Buy­ing of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion also il­le­gal

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - A JOUR­NAL­IST IN SOUTH CHINA’S GUANG­DONG PROV­INCE

man­aged to ac­quire a col­league’s per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, rang­ing from real-time lo­ca­tions and flight numbers to ho­tel check-in records, from an “on­line mer­chant” at the cost of just 700 yuan ($101) as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the sell­ing of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. But as the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity said on Mon­day, the jour­nal­ist broke the law, as pur­chas­ing other peo­ple’s in­for­ma­tion also con­sti­tutes a crime. Bei­jing News com­mented on Tues­day:

It is ab­hor­rent that the leak­ing of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion has reached such lev­els de­spite all the ef­forts to keep it in check.

Of course, peo­ple should be more aware of the la­tent dan­gers and make bet­ter ef­forts to pro­tect their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, but that can­not be used as an ex­cuse for the au­thor­i­ties not to do more su­per­vi­sory and en­force­ment-re­lated du­ties in this re­gard.

A cy­ber­se­cu­rity law, ap­proved by the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the 12th Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, China’s top leg­is­la­ture, will come into ef­fect on June 1, 2017, and there was an amend­ment to the Crim­i­nal Law last

year that made vi­o­lat­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion a crime, in ad­di­tion to the sell­ing and pro­vid­ing or ac­cess­ing of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion that were de­clared il­le­gal in 2009.

Yet that is not enough with­out ef­fi­cient law en­force­ment.

It is time for reg­u­la­tors to re­new their ef­forts to cleanse the un­der­ground in­for­ma­tion mar­ket. Apart from pun­ish­ing wrong­do­ers, they should re­sort to cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies based on big data to trace those in­volved in the sell­ing or il­le­gal use of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, and find out why they man­aged to ac­cess the in­for­ma­tion-col­lect­ing sys­tem.

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