When it comes to surveillance, China is one of the leading countries in the world thanks to its development in the big data collection and management. China uses its massive surveillance system in major cities of the country and also uses its technologies to keep eyes on other countries in different ways.
In a new report published by The Indian Express it reveals that a Shenzen-based Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited with links to the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party is observing over 10,000 individuals from India in its global database of ‘targets’ from many countries around the world including United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Canada, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
Not just political and officials from established institutions, the monitoring system includes bureaucrats in key positions; judges; scientists and academicians; journalists; actors and sportspersons; religious figures and activists.
The list even includes hundreds of individuals that are accused of financial crime, corruption, terrorism, and smuggling of narcotics, gold, arms or wildlife.
The tech firm founded in April, 2018 claims that it works with the Chinese Intelligence agencies, Chinese military and security agencies with affiliation from Chinese ministry and other state-owned companies. It has more than 20 processing centres across countries and regions.
The Indian Express reports that using big-data tools it investigated the meta data from the company’s operations to extract the entries of the Indian entities from the massive dump of log files that constitutes the company’s Overseas Key Information Database (OKIDB). This database is focused on mining data that will be used to achieve dominance or damage, subvert or influence.
It notes that the investigating researchers sent a detailed questionnaire to the email ids mention non the company’s website (http://www.china-revivial.com) on September 1st but hasn’t received any response and the website is no longer available accessible since September 9th.
A correspondent of The Indian Express visited the Shenzhen headquarters of the company and presented a list of questions that were declined by a company staff (no name) said: “Sorry, these questions touch upon our trade secrets. It’s not convenient to disclose.”
But responding to questions from The Indian Express, a Chinese Embassy source in Delhi said, “China has not asked and will not ask companies or individuals to collect or provide data, information and intelligence stored within other countries’ territories for the Chinese government by installing “backdoors” or by violating local laws.”
As reported Zhenhua’s database contained data of individuals from around the world and The Guardian has published a similar report that adds the personal data of individuals from the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Robert Potter, co-founder of the Canberra-based firm Internet 2.0 said the the sources of the data included Twitter, Facebook, Crunchbase, LinkedIn and even TikTok.
“Open source doesn’t necessarily mean people want it to be public,” Potter said in an interview. “The reason Cambridge Analytica was scandalous wasn’t because they were accessing information on people’s private messages on Facebook. It was because they were misusing the permissions that were given by users to those platforms.”
No wonder then that OKIDB also builds family trees.
Source: Indian Express