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March 17, 2012

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Police look into firm's database of private info

SHANGHAI police are investigating a local company that reportedly illegally collected private information of more than 150 million residents that they sell to clients for cold calling and other product promotions.

Shanghai-based Roadway D&B Co caught police and public attention after a video clip filmed by undercover reporters was broadcast nationwide in a news program on Thursday, China's Consumer Rights Day.

Shanghai police said yesterday that they raided the company's headquarters on Beijing Road E. after watching the broadcast.

Three senior executives with the company are now under police control.

Officers also confiscated four of the company's servers for evidence.

The company, which has eight branch offices across the country, was found by undercover reporters to be holding the private information of more than 150 million residents in China, according to the program broadcast by China Central Television.

The information includes name, gender, age, address, phone number, job, monthly income and even the kind of car the person owns.

Roadway D&B boasted that most of the information belongs to residents who have middle or high level purchasing power, the program revealed.

The company mainly worked with clients for cold calling and sending messages or e-mails to targeted groups of people in its database for product promotions.

Roadway D&B also sold each individual's information for 1.5 yuan (23 US cents) to other companies, according to the report.

Company representatives said they can target various groups for clients by studying their incomes, where they live and what kind of cars they drive.

"By taking a glance at the database, we know whether he has purchased any insurance, how much money he has in the bank, how much he has earned and how much he has spent," Roadway D&B employee Sun Peng said on the program.

They said they gathered the information by exchanging data with other cold call companies.

They also purchased private information from real estate agents and insurance companies.

"Sometimes we get information from the banks," another employee said on the show.


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