Big Brother collecting big data — and in China

Big Brother collecting big data — and in China, it’s all for sale

Big Brother collecting big data — and in China, it’s all for sale

Living in China, it's safe to assume pretty much everything about you is known — or easily can be known — by the government. Where you go, who you're with, which restaurants you like, when and why you see your doctor.

Big Brother doesn't even need to be watching with his own eyes.

There is an entire network — the internet inside China's Great Firewall — designed to gather the information. And there's an industry of private and state-owned high-tech enterprises serving it.

"You could go so far as to make the argument that social media and digital technology are actually supporting the regime," says Ronald Deibert, the director of The Citizen Lab, a group of researchers at the University of Toronto who study how information technology affects human and personal rights around the world.

The lab has taken apart popular apps like WeChat, a messaging app that also does financial transactions designed specifically for the Chinese market by private software giant Tencent. It's used by more than 800 million people here every month — virtually every Chinese person who is online.

Read Also:
Why self-service analytics is replacing traditional business intelligence

Deibert's team found it contains various hidden means of censorship and surveillance. Among other things, the restrictions follow Chinese students who study abroad.

Chinese authorities "have a wealth of data at their disposal about what individuals are doing at a micro level in ways that they never had before," Deibert says.

"What the government has managed to do, I think quite successfully, is download the controls to the private sector, to make it incumbent upon them to police their own networks," he says.

And now it seems, the data these firms collect is for sale.

An investigation by a leading Chinese newspaper, the Guangzhou Southern Metropolis Daily, found that just a little cash could buy incredible amounts of information about almost anyone. Friend or fiancé, business competitor or enemy … no questions asked.

Using just the personal ID number of a colleague, reporters bought detailed data about hotels stayed at, flights and trains taken, border entry and exit records, real estate transactions and bank records. All of them with dates, times and scans of documents (for an extra fee, the seller could provide the names of who the colleague stayed with at hotels and rented apartments).

Read Also:
How Do You Identify the Right Data Scientist for Your Team?

All confirmed by the colleague.

 



Data Innovation Summit 2017

30
Mar
2017
Data Innovation Summit 2017

30% off with code 7wData

Read Also:
Why Does Deep and Cheap Learning Work So Well?

Big Data Innovation Summit London

30
Mar
2017
Big Data Innovation Summit London

$200 off with code DATA200

Read Also:
How Do You Identify the Right Data Scientist for Your Team?

Enterprise Data World 2017

2
Apr
2017
Enterprise Data World 2017

$200 off with code 7WDATA

Read Also:
Text Visualization and Search

Data Visualisation Summit San Francisco

19
Apr
2017
Data Visualisation Summit San Francisco

$200 off with code DATA200

Read Also:
Artificial intelligence-powered malware is coming, and it's going to be terrifying

Chief Analytics Officer Europe

25
Apr
2017
Chief Analytics Officer Europe

15% off with code 7WDCAO17

Read Also:
IoT boom and GDPR raise the stakes of a cyber security breach

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *