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China-based Firm Snooping on Indian VIPs Says Its Data Public, Acquired Online: Sources

File picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: Reuters)

The Shenzen-based know-how firm, with hyperlinks to the Chinese authorities and the Chinese Communist Party, is reportedly protecting tabs on over 10,000 Indian people and organisations in its international database of “foreign targets”.

  • News18.com New Delhi
  • Last Updated: September 15, 2020, 10:26 PM IST

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A Shenzen-based know-how firm with hyperlinks to the Chinese authorities and the Chinese Communist Party, which is protecting tabs on over 10,000 Indian people and organisations in its international database of “foreign targets”, has mentioned it’s merely utilizing public data on the web for “data integration”, in keeping with Chinese Embassy sources.

An investigative report by The Indian Express has detailed how the corporate has been protecting tabs on people together with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Cabinet ministers like Rajnath Singh and Nirmala Sitharaman and not less than 15 former Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force amongst others.






Sources quoted a consultant of the corporate on Tuesday as saying that “the relevant reports on their company are seriously untrue”.

“Our data are all public data on the internet. This is just data integration. Its (the company’s) operations, which involve collecting and ‘mobilising’ data, are 100% from open sources with no data mining, and is no different from its Western peers, such as US public tracking platforms called EveryPolitician and GovTrack,” mentioned the consultant.

 

The consultant denied that what the corporate was doing was “illegal or unreasonable”. 

“We collect information from public sources that are accessible to everyone. But we do not get private information from confidential sources such as chat histories, psychological profiles or anything that the user chooses to conceal,” sources quoted the consultant as saying. “The Overseas Key Information Database (OKIDB) does exist, but not as magical as media reported, it merely connects individuals to the social media they use.”

After the report was made public, Indian businesses had mentioned they had been “not surprised” by the expose on the ‘hybrid war’ by China.

Indian officers had mentioned that the federal government was conscious of information mining by Chinese firms and its misuse by Chinese businesses. “The decision to ban Chinese apps was taken because of this misuse. Indian agencies flagged how common Indians unknowingly were contributing to the data bank of Chinese companies, which in turn was being shared with Chinese Communist Party and agencies,” an official had mentioned.

The officers had additionally acknowledged that the information for VIP Indians like Prime Minister, President and CJI, even when collated from open supply, may very well be used damagingly by an enemy nation and its company.


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