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Your Phone is Spying on you!!!

Who stole YOUR PII?

The World Consumer Rights Day, also known as 315, has brought the topic of Personal Privacy Information Protection back under the spot light once again.

Fortunately, brands that were skewered in the CCTV 315 show before (Apple and Nike included) have escaped the humiliating exposure this year. Instead, the TV show published a list of 8 medical care, food safety related and personal information leakage crimes.

The exposure of the online risk management firm Shenzhen Samoyed Internet Financial Services sparked a wildly heated discussion among Chinese netizens. They are suspected of using probe boxesfor phone number and personal information collection. As soon as the users' mobile phones' wireless connections are on, the detection devices placed in shopping malls, office buildings, and shops can stealthily collect your personal data without you knowing. The cost of one of these probe boxes is merely a few hundred RMB per month.

As astounding as this might sound to you, the chain of personal data leakage incidents that happened last year is just as disturbing and overwhelming

Photo Source: Vecteezy

What we did not know...

You are not just recognized by your FACE

More than 2.5 million Chinese citizens had their personal data leaked by an unprotected database built by Sensenets based in China. Information including ID card number, gender, nationality, address, birthday, and even the last 24 hour location data was exposed. (Source: TechNadu




The most surprising side of this incident however, is that Chinese citizens are already using facial recognition as one of their daily payment options. 


Your Apps are SPYING

In January 2018, Jiangsu Consumer Protection Committee took Baidu to court accusing the company for illegal user data collection through 2 of its main apps Aiqiyi and Baidu Tieba (Post bar). Other apps under investigation included Baidu App, UC browser, Yukou, Baidu Feed Delivery, Eleme, Baidu Map, Tencent Map, and Douban.




Even your baby has no privacy

June, 2018, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.

2 cellphones, 5200 newborn babies.


The parents of a newborn child reported that they received disturbing newborn baby-related promotion phone calls from a hotel they had never contacted before when their baby was only 2 days old. The police tracked the information to a shop providing photography services for newborn babies. It was said that the hotel sales manager was merely looking for creative ways of reaching his monthly sales targets.



Think  KNOW you are BREEDREADY

China is facing a severe gender imbalance risk. As reported by BBC in December last year, the number of Chinese women aged 23~30 will decrease by 40%. Some concerned citizens took the mission of solving the nation-wide problem to quite an extreme.


A non-profit group called GDI built a database of over 1.8 million women with personal details, contact information, and their education, marital status in their BreedReady profiles, with the youngest girl only at 15. All are single (89%), divorced (10%) or widowed (1%), 82% of which are living in Beijing. Such information was collected without consent, and publicly attainable.

Photo source: Bing


Tired of searching for food on your phone? Try saying out loud what you want to have for lunch while your phone is lying on your desk, locked. Relevant recommendations might have already been pushed to you by Eleme or Meituan when you open these apps on your phone later on ...

According to a research by IT Times, your chances of receiving relevant recommendation of food you mentioned verbally when your apps were listening without you knowing are 60% to 70%. (Source: IT Times)

Coincidence? Let's find out. What do you want for lunch today?

Photo source: Flipboard

The Remedy

The Chinese consumers' awareness of personal data security has risen to a new level. In 2014, a survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group showed that only 50% of surveyed Chinese consumers agreed that they have to be cautious about sharing their personal information online. (Source:

In 2017, however, according the a survey of over 10,000 Weibo users by Sina Finance, 86% responded that their privacy should be protected, while over 50% consider data breaches as a severe problem. (source: Research on Personal Privacy Protection of China in the Era of Big Data)

The Proposed Law

A new regulation for the handling of personal datawas launched on May 1st last year, specifying that the data collection and usage of such is required to be minimal. (Regulation: Information Security Technology-Personal information security specification)

This year, the pace has been hastened. A new law to protect personal information for protecting the citizens' privacy and security is now undergoing the drafting phase by the NPC.

Photo credit: Eventbrite

What should brands do?

On the one hand, brands must be aware of personal data protection. Not only because it is imposed by the law, but also because it shows care and respect towards the customers. It boils down to carefully designing your marketing strategy with permission based services. 

A sure way to reduce the risk is to collect less data points with higher accuracy and quality. Every data point collected from clients must come with a clear benefit to the customer. There needs to be explicit agreement on why your customers should give away their information, and what the brand will do with it.

After all, it's all about how much value you can bring to your customers. Only quality content and services will keep your customers loyal. Such strategies will not fail, and will go very far. 

On the other hand, choosing the right technology partner and consulting your legal department before going the extra mile is equally important.

System in Motion came from the bank IT implementation background, with years of experience in implementing software at the highest level of security. We deliver projects to international brands with extensive local market knowledge and compliance of local regulations. Talk to us today if you are looking for a trust worthy IT partner.

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Contact us if you are interested in learning more about how System in Motion can help deliver quality digital innovation projects for your company

Editor: Stephane Monsallier

Author: Jackie Fong

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