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National security is like sausage-making. We might enjoy the tasty product, but want to look away from the manufacturing.
Recent news that Chinese company Zhenhua Data is profiling more than 35,000 Australians isn’t a surprise to people with an interest in privacy, security and social networks. We need to think critically about this, knowing we can do something to prevent it from happening again.
Reports indicate Zhenhua provides services to the Chinese government. It may also provide services to businesses in China and overseas.
The company operates under Chinese law and doesn’t appear to have a presence in Australia. That means we can’t shut it down or penalise it for a breach of our law. Also, Beijing is unlikely to respond to expressions of outrage from Australia or condemnation by our government – especially amid recent sabre-rattling.
Journalists have become diplomatic pawns in China’s relations with the West, setting a worrying precedent
Zhenhua is reported to have data on more than 35,000 Australians – a list saturated by political leaders and prominent figures. Names, birthdays, addresses, marital status, photographs, political associations, relatives and social media account details are among the information extracted.
It seems Zhenhua has data on a …
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