China Focus: China eyes protecting online personal information via legislation
BEIJING, Dec 22, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
A draft bill on strengthening
Internet information protection will formally be tabled for
deliberation at a bimonthly session of China's legislature set to
open on Monday.
Widely hailed by Internet and telecom experts and online
commentators, the long-awaited move comes amid China's efforts to
secure citizens' personal information from becoming prey to
Behind China's surging online scam, fraud and identity theft in
recent years has been a rapidly growing Internet sector and a
lagged-behind law system for personal information protection,
according to analysts.
A public security ministry statement released on Friday showed
how Internet information can be abused by unveiling real cases.
On April 7, an Internet user surnamed Sun in east China's Wuxi
City was shocked to know around 47,000 yuan (around 7,400 U.S.
dollars) was transferred out of his Internet bank account nine
times that day.
Police investigations found the money all went to an unverified
personal account with a popular online payment service that the
culprit registered on the same day.
The culprit spent the sum in buying Internet virtual currency
in order to launder the money he illicitly obtained.
It took time for police to ascertain the real identity of the
suspect because no real name was provided in the online payment
Surnamed Liu, the suspect was finally apprehended in northeast
China's Liaoning Province, according to the ministry statement.
In another case unveiled by police, in 2011, a businesswoman in
south China's Nanning City was swindled out of 380,000 yuan via
QQ, an online instant massaging service, by someone who pretended
to be her son who is studying in London.
China has reported soaring QQ-related scams since 2009, as
criminal suspects became increasingly "professional" in online
cheating, according to police authorities.
Criminal suspects stole QQ passwords of a chat-mate during
chatting with others indiscriminately, police said. Meanwhile,
they used software to capture videos and images of the prey.
In their following step, the suspects logged online with the QQ
password to cheat the original user's friends online.
Police said in some cases it is difficult to trace the suspects
when they use unregistered mobile phone cards and wireless network
cards as well as fake credit cards for online fraud.
In a high-profile crackdown on criminal activities related to
personal information launched in April, police across the country
uncovered 44 "sources" that sold citizens' identity.
During the campaign, police in Changsha City cracked a personal
information trade ring self-proclaimed as "China Resources
The Illegal group's computers stored more than 150 million
entries of personal information, with particulars from names,
phone numbers, addresses, real estate, vehicles, phone records, to
"The lack of a sound law system to protect personal information
in China is a serious problem," said Li Yuxiao, an expert in
Internet management and law studies with Beijing University of
Posts and Telecommunications.
He said the country should quicken legislation moves to toughen
the fight on infringement upon privacy.
Zhou Hanhua, a law research fellow at the Chinese Academy of
Social Sciences (CASS), said that under current laws, it is hard
to bring those who illegally seek profit from abuse of citizens'
personal information to justice.
Current laws failed to give clear judicial interpretations on
law application and punishment measurement regarding crimes of
Internet information in many cases, according to police officials.
Besides upgrading China's laws, the Internet users themselves
should also improve their own awareness of safeguarding privacy of
their own and others, wrote Liu Huawen, a law expert with the
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