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December 24, 2013

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Residents irked by irritating promotional materials

More than 60 percent of local residents have been bombarded with some sort of promotional materials because their personal information was illegally sold and misused.

Most of the promotion stuff were from insurance, banking and real estate companies, a survey by the city’s consumer watchdog revealed yesterday.

The Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission released the results of a survey of 1,465 people, with 99 percent of respondents saying they received promotional material from unknown advertisers at least once, which they blamed on misuse of personal information.

About 65 percent of them said they continued to receive advertising messages frequently.

“I often receive calls from a securities investment company trying to convince  me to buy stocks when I am at work, which is extremely disturbing,” Dr Bi Yongfeng said. “I don’t know how the company got my contact.”

The survey showed 85.83 percent received phone calls, short messages and spam e-mails, the most common ways  to target unsuspecting people.

Insurance, banking, property, education training, telecommunications and maternal and child services were among the major culprits in abusing personal information, majority of the respondents said.

Abuse and misuse

About 66 percent of those surveyed said they were concerned about the abuse and misuse of personal information, and 78 percent said they were most troubled by the leaking of cell phone number and address, followed by identity, car details, financial situation, marriage status, age and social relationship.

More than 30 percent of respondents said they were never informed of the purpose and use of information collected from them, while 54 percent said they were made aware of the details.

About 93 percent said they were asked to provide personal information non-relevant with their purchase, which particularly happens in online registration and online shopping.

A total of 79 percent of those who were surveyed said they expected regulations on the protection of personal information. Seventy one percent said they hoped the purpose of the registration and the use of personal information can be regulated, the survey showed.

The commission called on authorities to clearly define regulations related to the use of personal information and step up crackdown on its violations.



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