Mea­sures are needed to pre­empt theft and sales of per­sonal info

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - THIR­TEEN EM­PLOY­EES

of a courier ser­vice com­pany in North China’s He­bei province were ar­rested re­cently for sell­ing more than 40,000 pieces of pri­vate in­for­ma­tion of their clients. China Youth Daily com­ments:

Three of those ar­rested by the po­lice are mid­dle-level ex­ec­u­tives of the com­pany and the oth­ers are de­liv­ery per­son­nel. They form a com­plete in­dus­trial chain with the mid­dle­men, and buy­ers, who are mostly sales­peo­ple of health foods com­pa­nies and real es­tate agents.

The pri­vate in­for­ma­tion they trade is not re­stricted to tele­phone num­bers and home ad­dresses, but also their clients’ e-com­merce records, which is of com­mer­cial value to the buy­ers.

The ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties is­sued an in­ter­pre­ta­tion on how laws ap­ply to crimes in­fring­ing on cit­i­zens’ pri­vate in­for­ma­tion in May, spec­i­fy­ing the penal­ties that can be meted out to such “in­sid­ers” who make use of their jobs to steal peo­ple’s pri­vate in­for­ma­tion and seek il­le­gal gains by sell­ing it.

If the amount of in­for­ma­tion or il­licit gains made sur­passes a cer­tain level, the cul­prits should be han­dled ac­cord­ing to the Crim­i­nal Law, rather than the pub­lic se­cu­rity reg­u­la­tions.

But the dif­fi­culty in ob­tain­ing ev­i­dence against them and the ease with which they can make money mean there are al­ways those who have ac­cess to peo­ple’s pri­vate in­for­ma­tion and take the risk of steal­ing it.

Apart from le­gal penal­ties and crack­ing down on such crimes, mea­sures are needed to pre­empt the ram­pant theft and sale of peo­ple’s pri­vate in­for­ma­tion.

The au­thor­i­ties should not only tar­get the sellers, but also the other par­ties in the chain.

The ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties need to call to ac­count the em­ploy­ers of those caught sell­ing pri­vate in­for­ma­tion. The e-com­merce, de­liv­ery, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, bank­ing, trans­port and health­care in­sti­tu­tions as well as the other agen­cies in rel­e­vant in­dus­tries also need to strengthen their in­ter­nal man­age­ment and su­per­vi­sion to pre­vent em­ploy­ees from tak­ing ad­van­tage of their posts to fat­ten their own pock­ets. And last but not the least, the buy­ers of the in­for­ma­tion must be held ac­count­able too.

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