China Collects Massive Personal Data Of All Citizens — And It’s Up For Sale


Short Bytes: It’s not hidden that China keeps a close eye on its citizen and censors the internet using its Great Firewall. Added to that, many private companies like WeChat offer complete support to Chinese regime by spying on their users. This highly sensitive and personal data can be easily bought by paying a low price. Also, in China, one can easily hire some online service to track another person using his personal ID number.

Big Brother watches you all the time in China. Any item you shop, any ride you take, or any place you eat — there’s a good chance that authorities are sniffing your data. Interestingly, the Chinese government doesn’t need to build specialized infrastructure for this spying.

Instead, an entire network of private and state-owned organizations are collecting data and sending it to the government. These revelations came into the spotlight as a result of a study carried out by The Citizen Lab, a group of researchers at the University of Toronto.

The Citizen Lab’s director, Robald Deibert, says that one can easily assume that Chinese social media and digital technology is supporting the regime, according to CBC.

The Chinese authorities have tons of data about what the individuals are doing at a micro level.” This is being done in ways that haven’t been seen before.

china banned keywords wechat 1
Image: The Citizen Lab

Talking about the Chinese technology giants that play a big part in the whole scheme, WeChat turns out to be the biggest culprit. It’s used by virtually every online Chinese person. The app uses keyword filtering for the users whose accounts are registered to mainland China phone numbers. This censorship is dynamic and opaque. If the users move outside China, they are still tracked.


CBC cites an investigation lead by a leading Chinese daily that bought massive amounts of data for just a little cash. Just think about the border entry and exit records, bank records, real estate transactions, trips made — and you can get everything for a low price of 700 yuan, or $140 Cdn.

china banned keywords wechat
Image: The Citizen Lab

In China, there are numerous advertisements for online tracking services. Some of them can provide pinpoint locations in real time. While this data mostly comes from telecom companies, some sensitive information is only available from government sources.

Have something to add to China’s mass surveillance story? Don’t forget to drop your views and feedback.

Also Read: After Creating Worst Linux Distro, North Korea Makes Android Tablet That’s Built To Spy

Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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