WP: Chinese firm Zhenhua harvests social media posts, data of prominent Americans and military
Tue September, 2020, Age: 2 years
Since 2017, a Chinese company called Shenzhen Zhenhua Data Technology has been scraping social media posts and other data on military personnel and policymakers for the stated purpose of providing intelligence to Chinese military, government and commercial clients, according to a copy of the database that was left unsecured on the Internet and retrieved by an Australian cybersecurity consultancy. The database contains information on more than 2 million people, including at least 50,000 Americans, according to Zhenhua’s marketing documents and a review of a portion of the database. This report comes as U.S.-China diplomacy reaches a fraying point, with the surprise withdrawal of American ambassador Terry Branstad from Beijing and a new push for “decoupling” from secretary of state Mike Pompeo over fears of Chinese influence in U.S. politics and economy.