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October 25, 2010

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Site publishes home numbers

CONCERNS over individual privacy have risen after the telephone numbers of over 60,000 local company bosses were displayed on a website, accessible to anyone.

By typing the Chinese words "Shanghai company bosses" into the search engine of the Baidu's testing database,, access can be gained to files containing detailed information on local companies and their senior officials.

The information includes their names, mobile phone numbers and company and home addresses.

The number of such files reached up to 100 on the website, covering over 60,000 people from local companies - mainly middle and small-scale private enterprises.

Shanghai Daily dialed some of the numbers listed in the document and the information was confirmed to be true. Many company bosses said they had been bothered by scam messages and calls for a long time.

"I have received hundreds of calls from different sales companies since I gave my number to an insurance com0070any to buy their product," said Chen Xuezhong, a manager at a local metal product manufacturing company.

"I previously believed it was the insurance company or some agencies that had sold my number to others, but then I saw the files online," said Chen. "New technology allows the sales companies to get private information freely and use it to contact other people," he said.

Private information about some local celebrities, including singers, sports stars and actors, is also on the website.

According to Baidu's regulations, victims who found their private information had been leaked illegally on the website can report whoever uploaded the files to the website.

Baidu will delete such files from its website if they are proved to be illegally released private information. Baidu was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Wang Zhan, a local lawyer, warned residents not to upload those files as their actions could lead to prosecution and possible fines for infringement of?privacy.

Surprisingly, many bosses who were angered by scam calls or messages told Shanghai Daily that they did not plan to sue the file uploaders or report them to the police.

"I don't want to waste time reporting the uploaders to Baidu or to the police because it won't change the situation," said Xu Xiaojing, an official at a local company. "Sales companies can acquire our information via various channels anyway."

Xu said she had changed her cell phone number in the past few years because she believed that was the most efficient way to prevent scam calls.


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