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by | Jul 5, 2022 | Business

China’s police preside over an extensive surveillance system, but protecting data often falls to local officials with little experience overseeing data security.Credit…Alex Plavevski/EPA, via ShutterstockIn what may be one of the largest known breaches of Chinese personal data, a hacker has offered to sell a Shanghai police database that could contain information on perhaps one billion Chinese citizens.The unidentified hacker, who goes by the name ChinaDan, posted in an online forum last week that the database for sale included terabytes of information on a billion Chinese. The scale of the leak could not be verified. The New York Times confirmed parts of a sample of 750,000 records that the hacker released to prove the authenticity of the data.The hacker, who joined the online forum last month, is selling the data for 10 Bitcoin, or about $200,000. The individual or group did not provide details on how the data was obtained. The Times reached out to the hacker via an email on the post, though it could not be delivered as the address seemed to be incorrect.The hacker’s offer of the Shanghai police database highlights a dichotomy in China: Although the country has been at the forefront of collecting masses of information on its citizens, it has been less successful in securing and safeguarding that data.Over the years, authorities in China have become expert at amassing digital and biological information on people’s daily activities and social connections. They parse social media posts, collect biometric data, track phones, record video using police cameras and sift through what they obtain to find patterns and aberrations. A Times investigation last month revealed that the appetite of Chinese authorities for regular citizens’ information has only expanded in recent years.But even as Beijing’s appetite for surveillance has ramped up, authorities have appeared to lea …

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