China spying on huge number of Aussies

China spying on huge number of Aussies”

The list of figures in the United Kingdom that were swept up in the Chinese dragnet includes Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, and members of the Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, Prince William and Kate Middleton.

At the behest of the Ministry of State Security, China's equivalent to the Central Intelligence Agency or Britain's MI6, Shenzhen-based tech company Zhenhua Data harvested data on high profile members of the British establishment, as well as their family members and close friends.

According to documents seen by The Telegraph, Zhenhua Data amassed files on over 40,000 people in the UK.

Academics working on Artificial Intelligence, software, and computer technology at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Durham, and Imperial College London were listed in the database as well.

The database was published overnight after it was leaked to a United States academic, and it shows 2.4 million people around the world have been targeted - including 35,000 Australians.

"The database includes a big data analytics layer that allows analysts to track key influencers and how news and opinion moves through social media platforms", they said. Limited include top names from politics to judiciary to the security forces.

The huge Australian contingent was among 2.4 million people profiled in the Overseas Key Information Database (OKIDB) that is believed to have been used by China's Ministry of State Security.

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The server also worked for the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army. Some targets were also marked as "important" or being of "special interest", but how the people were ranked and why they were targeted is still uncertain.

Former Labor MP Emma Husar was also included on the list.

But as much as 20 per cent of the information listed in the database was not easy to find through public sources, the researchers warned, and may have come from unauthorised access.

Taking note of the Indian Express investigation, the Congress on Monday sought to know if the Narendra Modi-led government was aware of the Chinese surveillance on over 10,000 Indians and demanded that a clear message be sent to Beijing to prevent them from indulging in such activities.

The surveillance assumes significance when an increasingly assertive China is locked in a simmering standoff with India along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and is pushing against many of its neighbours in the region and beyond.

The database has not been made publicly available, but Mr Balding said he had shared it with government officials, journalists and other researchers to analyse its contents and understand how it had been used.

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