Chinese tech firm Zhenhua has built a database of 2.4 million individuals for intelligence operations are significant though unsurprising. Files on senior politicians and their families among those stored as part of worldwide intelligence collection operation.
A major international media investigation has revealed that a technology firm linked to the Chinese Communist Party has created and mined a global database of 2.4 million individuals – many of them political leaders, scientists, journalists and others in positions of influence – based on their online presence in order to monitor them and their networks, according to The Diplomat.
Among the names on the list there is UK prime Minister Boris Johnson, the British Royal family, forme Italian PMs Silvio Berlusconi and Enrico Letta, military officers, celebrities, judges and businessmen.
Information collected includes dates of birth, addresses, marital status, along with photographs, political associations, relatives and social media IDs. It collates Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and even TikTok accounts, as well as news stories, criminal records and corporate misdemeanours. While much of the information has been “scraped” from open-source material, some profiles have information which appears to have been sourced from confidential bank records, job applications and psychological profiles, ABC Australia reports.
The database has been shared with an international consortium of media outlets in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Australia.
The CCP and China’s Ministry of State Security has long compiled country-by-country information about foreign economic and political elites, and foreigners who had lived in China for any period, said to The Guardian Anne-Marie Brady, a veteran China researcher and professor at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. “I’ve seen whole books outlining the careers and political views of US China experts,” Brady added. “But what is unusual about this discovery is the use of big data and outsourcing to a private company.”