Shanghai skyline: was there a massive police data leak?
Photo: JOHANNES EISELE/ AFP
According to a hacker, he has obtained the personal data of a billion Chinese people.
The Shanghai National Police database was compromised last year, the unsub said in a June 30 post on a hacker forum called Breach Forums.
He operates there under the name »ChinaDan«.
The information includes names, addresses, places of birth, mobile phone and ID numbers as well as police information on criminal offenses, it said.
"ChinaDan" apparently tried to sell 23 terabytes of data for ten bitcoins, which would be the equivalent of almost $200,000.
In the forum post (here a screenshot) he promises 750,000 data records as a sample.
It has not yet been confirmed whether the information provided by »ChinaDan« is correct.
If so, it would be one of the biggest data leaks ever.
The Reuters news agency has not yet been able to verify the claims and has not been able to contact ChinaDan.
The Shanghai government and police have also not responded to inquiries about the issue.
ChinaDan's forum post was discussed extensively on the Chinese social media services Weibo and WeChat over the weekend.
According to your posts, many fear that the information is correct.
Weibo blocked a hashtag related to that discussion on Sunday afternoon, apparently to keep the topic from becoming too popular.
A data protection law has been in force in China since last year, which provides for similarly drastic penalties for companies in the event of data leaks as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe: fines of up to 50 million renminbi (around seven million euros) or five percent of the previous year's turnover are possible, moreover, persons directly responsible can be held liable.
A data leak at an authority would therefore be embarrassing for the government.
In addition, data from a billion citizens in the database of a single police authority would be evidence of the sprawling state surveillance in the country.