Personal information trafficking a growing problem

Since 2016, Hongkou prosecutors have dealt with more than 20 cases of personal information infringements, involving the leakage of millions of pieces of personal information.

Three people accused of illegally trafficking the personal information of more than 1,800 people will go on trial for personal information infringement, Hongkou District People’s Procuratorate announced on Tuesday.

It started in November 2016 when the alleged ringleader, surnamed Pan, and his two subordinates bought personal property information from the Internet and sold to small-loan companies, prosecutors found.

Police received a tip-off and caught the three in the latter half of 2017. Investigation found they trafficked the information of 1,814 people. 

According to China’s Criminal Law, people will be jailed for personal information infringements if they illegally trade sensitive information such as the financial status and daily routines of 50 people, important information such as the addresses and medical records of 500 people, and "normal" information such as the names and ages of 5,000 people. 

In this case, the three were suspected of trafficking sensitive information of more than 1,800 people, which was considered a severe offense and attracts jail terms of three to seven years, according to prosecutor Sheng Lin. 

It was not unveiled when the trail will open. 

Since 2016, Hongkou prosecutors have dealt with more than 20 cases of personal information infringements, involving the leakage of millions of pieces of personal information. The problem remains a headache as the number of cases received in 2017 was almost twice that of 2016. 

Most of those involved were industry insiders such as sales people in banks, mobile carriers and real estate agencies. They were lured by low costs and high returns. 

Usually it costs just one yuan to buy the personal information of 1,000 people, but it can lead to potential new clients. However, it also poses high risk in connection to frauds, extortion and even kidnapping, according to prosecutor Huang Chunxiao.

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