Chinese technology company Zhenhua Data gathered personal data from 2.4 million people around the globe, including those from top personalities, according to cybersecurity experts.
The Guardian reported that big data from millions of people are stored in the company’s database, collected based on public sources such as social media profiles.
Australian-based cybersecurity consultancy Internet 2.0 bared that these people include politicians such as prime ministers Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison and their relatives, the royal family, celebrities, and military figures.
The database was first leaked to American academician Christopher Balding who shared these findings with the agency for recovery and analysis.
Balding said that the individual who handed out the data had put themselves at risk but had “done an enormous service and is proof that many inside China are concerned about CCP [Chinese Communist party] authoritarianism and surveillance.”
The database, according to Balding, showed that the information targeted influential individuals and institutions across a variety of industries. He believes that the data compiled could be used to improve monitoring and analyze how to exert influence.
The Guardian contacted the Chinese tech firm for a comment, but the representative of Zhenhua Data claimed that the report is “seriously untrue” and cited that the data are all public data found on the Internet.