A US academic has uncovered a 2.4-million-person database he says was compiled by a Chinese company known to supply intelligence, military, and security agencies. It includes details of politicians, diplomats, activists, academics and more, and lists their close relatives, contact details and affiliations with political and other organisations.
This is exactly the future that scares us here at Self: a future where sensitive personal information can be acquired and misused at the drop of a hat.
What’s most worrying is that most of the data was compiled using completely public information available on social media. This illustrates exactly how seemingly harmless information about an individual can be aggregated from multiple sources and then used against them. In this case, the aim of the database was to understand how to exert influence on these people if required.