New Delhi: Chinese data firm Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Tuesday denied all the allegations of “illegal” data collection as reported in an investigation by The Indian Express, saying the company does not obtain private information from public sources.
According to a statement issued by the company, the Overseas Key Information Database (OKIDB) “does exist, but not as magical as media reported” and that it “merely connects individuals to the social media they use”.
The OKIDB reportedly uses advanced language, targeting and classification tools, which include hundreds of entries without any explicit markers.
“Our data are all public data on the internet. This is just data integration. Its operations, which involve collecting and mobilising data, are 100 per cent from open sources with no data mining, and is no different from its Western peers, such as US public-tracking platforms called EveryPolitician and GovTrack,” said Sun, a representative of Shenzhen-based Zhenhua.
“There is nothing about the operations that are illegal or unreasonable. We collect information from public sources that are accessible to everyone. But we do not get private information from confidential sources such as chat histories, psychological profiles or anything that the user chooses to conceal.”
She said Zhenhua is a privately owned company established in April 2018.
“All of its partners are natural persons without backgrounds in the Chinese military or the government, and some were previously in the information technology business. The company’s current clients include higher education institutions and think tanks in China, but it does not offer any analytical services on the collected data,” she added.
Govt looking into reports
According to sources in the Indian government, New Delhi is “examining” the Indian Express report since the Chinese company reportedly tracked over 10,000 Indian nationals, including leading personalities like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, as well as their families.
The company has been reportedly tracking at least 2.4 million people around the world — 10,000 Indians, 50,000 Americans, 40,000 British and 35,000 Australians.
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