5,000 foreigners flagged by advanced surveillance sweep: latest Chinese data breach

According to the latest data breach from a Chinese agency, more than 5,000 foreigners were tracked when visiting mainland China between 2017 and 2018. Some on the list say they only had one day in China or had passed Shanghai.

One cybersecurity expert said that modern data breaches are unique in their sophistication, such as the use of facial recognition and the collection of passport IDs.

This information was edited by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, a local-level branch of the Ministry of Public Security, Beijing’s main oversight body.

The data breach contains more than 1.1 million surveillance records, involving 25,000 “stakeholders” in China and 5,000 foreigners, including government officials and employees of Mitsubishi and US manufacturing giant 3M. Contains information.

A man wearing a protective mask is walking under a surveillance camera due to a new coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai, China, on March 4, 2020. (Aly Song / Reuters)

A hacker found an unprotected database named “Uyghur Terrorist” on an open source platform and provided it to Australian security officer, media organization, and Canberra-based cybersecurity firm Internet 2.0. ABC..

Information compiled by the Department of Public Security (PSB) includes face and vehicle recognition photos, immigration data, reports from informants, and details and photos of foreign passports collected when traveling to Shanghai in 2017. Was included.

More than 161 Australian citizens were flagged by the PSB when they passed the immigration office at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai in 2018.

Epoch Times Photo
Passengers wearing face masks will be checked by airport security staff upon arrival at Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China on March 18, 2020. (Hector Retamal / AFP via Getty Images)

A watchlist was also found that contained information about employees of 976 companies (Chinese and foreign companies).

Individuals on this list were flagged for having access to dangerous chemicals, drugs, and materials suitable for the production of explosives. Up to a quarter of these companies were foreign-affiliated companies, including 3M, Mitsubishi, and German pharmaceutical giant Bayer.

Up to 48 employees were tracked with facial recognition cameras as they traveled through Jinshan Port in Shanghai.

Vehicles are also tracked by the “intelligent vehicle surveillance” system, and owners had to install GPS tracking on their vehicles when handling dangerous goods.

Epoch Times Photo
On April 8, 2019, a Chinese paramilitary police officer is guarding in front of a security camera at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. (STR / AFP via Getty Images)

Australians from Ernst and Young, National Australia Bank, Telstra, Australian Agricultural Company, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the media group were also involved in the data sweep.

Janis Manning, co-owner of the publication Mediaweek, told ABC she was in Shanghai just for a stopover during the day.

“I’m more intriguing and mysterious than anything else,” Manning said.

“I think I’ve appeared in some databases, probably because I’ve been connected to the media in some senior positions throughout my career,” she added.

Matthew Warren, a cybersecurity professor at RMIT University who has seen first-hand how Beijing’s surveillance network works, said local-level institutions are also involved in promoting surveillance for the Chinese administration.

“The database shows how closely the CCP’s surveillance camera network (CCTV) and biometric systems work together to bring together all aspects of surveillance,” he said in an email. I told the time report.

“This shows that the Chinese government has a fully integrated system that can be extended to drones,” he added, adding that he was shown a 5G surveillance drone during his last visit to China.

Surveillance drone on display in Beijing
Taken on May 22, 2012, this photo shows a surveillance drone on display in Beijing. The drone that China plans to deploy is a small propeller aircraft that can take off from the ship. (STR / AFP / Getty Images)

The CCP Skynet project is an ongoing centralized mass monitoring project linked below. Over 200 million CCTV cameras nationwide include biometric data collection technology such as face recognition.

The latest PBS leak also included the identities of 25,000 people of interest, including Uighurs, political opponents, children, alleged criminals, and people with mental illness.

The subset of that list contained details of 10,000 people in one of the seven categories listed by the Ministry of Public Security. This includes “disturbing social order” or “petitioners” and individuals who make official complaints against corrupt government officials.

Details of thousands of police informants were also included in the dataset’s phone records, including names, home addresses, and phone numbers.

A Uighur who has been marked as a “suspect of terrorism” and currently lives in Turkey believes he was involved in a data sweep when he visited Shanghai Disneyland for a day in 2017. He was in Hangzhou at that time.

About 8,000 Uighurs have been flagged for “suspected terrorism” and other criminal charges.

Last year, cybersecurity firm Internet 2.0 was also involved in decrypting and analyzing two other major data breaches from China, the Zhenhua Data breach and the Shanghai Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member list.

Face recognition camera Huawei
On April 26, 2019, a monitor on Huawei’s Bantian campus in Shenzhen, China will show a facial recognition and artificial intelligence display. (Kevin Frayer / Getty Images)

Michael Shoebridge, director of defense at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the latest leak was widespread and did not target the usual celebrities included in previous datasets.

“A huge number of our citizens, including 4-year-old children and families visiting Shanghai Disneyland, are happily classified as terrorists by the CCP agency,” he told The Epoch Times.

“The types of people collected by Chinese security agencies and the information about them can be confusing and confusing,” he added.

However, Mr. Schubridge pointed out that large-scale data leaks in China occur on a regular basis.

“Despite the huge investment in cybersecurity, online surveillance, surveillance, and central authority for tight control,” he said. “This is a major vulnerability in the party’s operating model, which seems to be growing rather than shrinking.”