A massive database of 2.4 million people, including 35,000 Aussies, has been leaked from the Shenzhen company Zhenhua Data, and for some reason, Natalie Imbruglia has wound up on the list of “special interest” targets??
The Chinese company, which is believed to have been used by China’s Ministry of State Security intelligence service, has been building up an entire database of highly detailed personal information on thousands of Aussies. All I want to know is what the hell do they want with my cooked search history?
Intelligence that has been collected includes literally everything you could want to know about a person, from addresses to marital status, and it even comes alongside multiple photographs.
All the data comes from a combination of social media accounts, collating information from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and even TikTok, so any dance challenges you’ve participated in may have gotten more views than you hoped for.
There are exactly 35,558 Aussies on the database, with information on current and former prime ministers, important members of parliament, and quite a few billionaires.
There are also military officers, journalists (oh no), engineers, accountants and business execs with their details lying around, but what is more interesting is the 656 Aussies on the list that have been classified as “special interest.”
There’s no real explanation as to why these people are so interesting to the Chinese intelligence service, but alas, here they are.
Victorian Supreme Court Judge Anthony Cavanough makes the list of special vegemites, as well as former foreign minister Bob Carr, One Nation co-founder David Oldfield, Peter Costello’s son Sebastian, ABC director Georgie Somerset and… singer Natalie Imbruglia?
Look, I don’t know what they want with Miss Imbruglia, but this information has me positively torn.
The database was leaked to a US academic based in Vietnam, Professor Chris Balding, who worked at Peking University before leaving China in 2018, indicating he feared for his physical safety.
“China is absolutely building out a massive surveillance state both domestically and internationally,” Professor Balding told the ABC.
“They’re using a wide variety of tools — this one is taken primarily from public sources, there is non-public data in here, but it is taken primarily from public sources.
“I think it speaks to the broader threat of what China is doing and how they are surveilling, monitoring and seeking to influence… not just their own citizens, but citizens around the world.”
Very proud to have worked with a global coalition of journalists and @rpotter_9 to bring a database managed by a Chinese intelligence and military contractor to the light of day. This database compiled information on 2.4 million individuals and 650k institutions 1/n https://t.co/A3DTb24lOo
— Zissou Society CEO Balding 大老板 (@BaldingsWorld) September 13, 2020
Although this is definitely some shocking stuff, my mind absolutely cannot fathom why on Earth Natalie Imbruglia is a key point of interest. I always knew there was something special about her.