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September 20, 2010

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Resident warns over private info

A RESIDENT is encouraging people to stand up to companies that illegally acquire private information to send out advertising pamphlets.

Li Lin received an apology and 2,000 yuan (US$297.44) in compensation from E-Mart, a South Korea-based supermarket, after it obtained his private information via an advertising company.

"The trading of personal information has gone wild," Li said. "Nowadays everyone may receive ad booklets at their homes or via e-mail. But many people are not aware of the hidden danger."

Li said he received an ad booklet from E-Mart after one of its stores opened on Caobao Road on September 2.

But he had never issued any private information to the supermarket before.

Li called E-Mart for an explanation. One of its officials told him the booklets were issued by an ad firm working for the supermarket.

"I believe the ad company illegally obtained my information from other sources," Li said.

He called the police and demanded E-Mart pay 5,000 yuan in compensation and issue a written apology for illegally obtaining his private information.

According to Li, E-Mart officials negotiated with him on Friday and shifted all responsibility to a small advertising company that works for the supermarket.

Although the supermarket issued a written apology and paid 2,000 yuan in compensation, the officials refused to tell Li the source of his information.

"They only told me it happened everywhere in the city," Li said.

The supermarket officials admitted yesterday that they hired an advertising company but said they were still investigating whether the firm obtained the information of residents illegally, according to the Oriental Morning Post.

"I didn't do it for money. I did it to protect my rights, and maybe the rights of others," Li said.

He believed by reporting the illegal acts to police and demanding apologies and compensation, it would teach companies a lesson.

Li also encouraged others to protect their rights and warned people of the danger.

He said your private information can be used in short-message scams on mobile phones, which are very common.

"You can be a victim of personal information trading and if you don't fight back more people may suffer," Li said.


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