clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Personal data of China’s elite, including Alibaba founder, leaked on Twitter

New, 5 comments

For a few hours, but still

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

JP Yim/Getty Images

On Thursday, a Twitter account publicly released the personal information of China's rich and powerful, Tech In Asia reported. Photos and screenshots posted by the account @shenfenzheng — which means "personal identification" in Chinese — revealed sensitive data like national identification numbers, birth dates, addresses, educational attainment and marital status.

Leaked data included national identification numbers, birth dates, and addresses.

Among the victims are two of China's richest businessmen, Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma, and Wang Jianlin, chairman of real estate company Dalian Wan Group, according to The New York Times. Jianlin's wife and son's identification numbers were also exposed. Ironically, Fang Binxing, the architect of the country's "Great Firewall," which blocks Twitter in mainland China, was also not immune from the attack.

Even though the account was suspended within hours, a cached version of the webpage continues to exist, according to Tech In Asia. People may have also taken screenshots of the information prior to it being taken down. The identity of the person who created the account remains unknown for now, but the motive was to get people thinking about how easily personal data can be stolen. "Surprised by these tidbits of informations? I hope this can get fellow countrymen thinking. Personal privacy is worth nothing in China," @shenfenzheng posted prior to being suspended, according to The New York Times.

Accessing anyone's private data is "like buying cabbage" @shenfenzheng said

In another tweet, @shenfenzheng said that accessing anyone's private data is "like buying cabbage," according to Bloomberg. The leak is against Twitter’s rules and is punishable by up to three years in prison as well as fines under Chinese law.