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March 28, 2011

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Concerns as locals' personal details published on Internet

LOCAL residents are worrying about their privacy after personal details - such as their names, addresses and cell phone numbers - ended up on the country's biggest online file-sharing platform.

Personal information on 3,600 residents from 13 well-known residential complexes have been found on Baidu, China's biggest search engine.

A web user identified as "zz6394141" published information on the neighborhoods, with names, addresses and phone numbers, which could be downloaded free.

"I get cold calls almost every day and they seem to know me very well - sometimes even knowing my parents' names," said a woman living in Juyuan residential complex at Lane 366 Pucheng Road, Pudong New Area. "I don't feel secure."

Most calls come from real estate agencies and insurance companies, said the woman, who asked not to be named.

"Some callers know my name, which is annoying, and there is nothing I can do about it," said a man, surnamed Zhang, living in Jinlin residential area.

"It's unbelievable," said a resident, surnamed Ding, living at 88 Shuicheng Road S. "When I apply for a gift card or participate in commercial events, I never fill in my home number."

Property management companies in the listed residential areas have all denied involvement.

According to the Oriental Morning Post, about 70 percent of the information is correct .

Baidu said all shared files are scanned and verified before being placed on the platform but could not explain why this private information passed its checks.

Lawyers said publishing private information on the Internet may breach people's rights not to be harassed, and appealed for the law to be more complete. "There are still defects in the law," said lawyer Wu Dong. Wu also criticized Baidu, as the platform had a responsibility to filter uploaded information.


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