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Chinese database collects information on more than 130 Papua New Guineans
04:39 am GMT+12, 18/09/2020, Papua New Guinea

The details of several Papua New Guinean politicians and their family members, as well as bureaucrats and church leaders, have been circulated by a vast Chinese database, which one PNG leader describes as frightening.

The database of 2.4 million people, including more than 35,000 Australians, was leaked from the Shenzhen company Zhenhua Data which is believed to be used by China's intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security.

Zhenhua has the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party among its main clients.

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 content 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.

The company is also believed to have retrieved some of its information from the so-called “dark web”.

Among the Papua New Guineans included on the list are several current and former MPs, including some ministers, and the outgoing Deputy Speaker of the Bougainville Parliament, Francesca Semoso is one of several Bougainvilleans to feature.

Semoso says there's increased interested in Bougainville, as the autonomous region is pushing to become its own country after last year's historic referendum, in which 98 per cent of people voted in favour of independence from PNG.

“I'm angry. We have to be aware of what's happening,” she told the ABC.

The database has been shared with an international consortium of media outlets in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and in Australia, through the Australian Financial Review and the ABC.

The media consortium has sought comment from Zhenhua, but received no reply.

SOURCE: ABC/PACNEWS


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