China spying on millions including Brits and Americans by harvesting personal details from dark web

CHINA'S communist regime is reportedly snooping on tens of thousands of British and Americans by harvesting data from the dark web.

It has emerged that a colossal database, which is understood to have been stolen and leaked to the Five Eyes Intelligence network by an anti-China activist, has been compiled by a private firm, which is contracted to the government.

Zhenhua Data, a Shenzhen-based company which lists the People's Liberation Army and Chinese Communist Party among its main clients, has been harvesting data on prominent people, including Boris Johnson and the Royal Family.

The company views its mission as using big data for the "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation".

The Daily Telegraph reports the firm has been compiling personal information on millions of people from the US, UK, Australia, Canada, India and Japan, including information about their close family. 

Its database includes names, dates of birth, education, job history and social media accounts. 

Much of this has been harvested from online sources.

But some of the data is not publicly available, such as bank details, criminal convictions, information about military top brass and those on an anti-money laundering list.

It is thought this is gathered via the dark web where there is an illicit trade in data.

It's difficult not to conclude they are harvesting public information and aggregating it as a form of surveillance

Sensitive information about the movements of the UK and US ships, satellites, aircraft and buoys was also listed.

The discovery comes amid strain between the British and Chinese Governments over new security laws in Hong Kong and the cancellation of Huawei's involvement in the UK's 5G network.

Alan Woodward, a professor of cybersecurity at Surrey University, told the Times: "They are a very obscure bunch who work mostly for the Chinese military. 

"They collate data from various social media platforms as part of their profiling. It's not hacking, it's more profiling, but targeted at certain figures. 

"It's difficult not to conclude they are harvesting public information and aggregating it as a form of surveillance."

The database, known as the Overseas Key Individual Database, was understood to have been stolen by an anti-China activist, who shared them with a cybersecurity firm called Internet 2.0, which reconstructed the data. 

It then shared the data with intelligence services of the Five Eyes grouping of the intelligence services of UK, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

It was then shared with media organisations by Internet 2.0. Robert Potter, its co-founder and chief executive said: "Zhenhua has violated the privacy of millions of global citizens."

A spokeswoman for Zhenhua Data reportedly declined to comment on allegations that it was engaged in state espionage as has the Chinese government.

It comes after the UK Government's U-turn on Chinese tech giant Huawei's involvement in 5G networks amid security concerns — a move welcomed by Washington.

Last year America threatened to stop sharing top-secret intelligence with Britain if it allowed Huawei into the country because the company has close links to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Beijing had also previously threatened Downing Street with "consequences" if Huawei was excluded from the 5G network.

In June experts believe a cyber attack was launched by China against Australia may have been revenge for the country banning Huawei from its phone networks.

Australian PM Scott Morrison said the sophisticated "state-based" hack targeted critical infrastructure and all levels of government.

TIkToK is facing bans around the world over fears the Chinese made app is spying on users and passing secrets to the Communist Party.

The Australian government is already under pressure to outlaw the popular app amid concerns it poses a serious national security threat.

US President Donald Trump has made it clear he wants to see an outright sale of TikTok to a US technology company, amid concerns among national security officials that US user data could be passed on to China's Communist Party government.

He has threatened to ban it in the United States as early as September 20 if ByteDance does not comply.


While the Chinese communist party is beginning to spy on foriegn citizens, it is also ramping up snooping on its own people. 

It has ordered all 700 million men and boys to hand over their DNA, according to a new report.

The database would enable authorities to track down any man’s relative using that man’s saliva, blood, or other genetic material, the paper reported.

The government has already been tracking ethnic minorities such as the Muslim Uighurs and other groups perceived as hostile or a threat to the party.

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