WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange participates via video link at a news conference marking the 10th anniversary of the secrecy-spilling group. (Photo : Getty Images)
China is less bothered to talk about the latest WikiLeaks document dump, which is purported to show how the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States breaks into smartphones, computers, television sets and other electronics for surveillance.
Ace Xin, a Beijing resident with a U.S. green card, said: "If Americans want to peek, go ahead. What privacy do we have in China? It’s like I’m running naked every day.
"At any minute, all my personal information is being collected and leaked. All my online trails are saved and used without my permission. All of this is driven by strong business and political interests. Running naked is a condition in which it’s impossible to be protected."
Ace's sentiments capture how a lot of Chinese feel about China's online censors, making their privacy unprotected, with little to be done about it due to the "Big Brother" nature of China's authoritarian government.
A recent survey by Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website, shows that more than half of its 6,000 respondents said that Internet scams are so widespread because the entities that collect information fail to protect it properly.
Smartphones are not safe when it comes to online privacy in China. Smartphones are used in collecting various data of over 700 million Chinese people. Data ranges from chats, emails, photos/videos to location info, financial accounts and phone numbers.
The current regulations require both Internet companies and service providers to keep records of these data on a file for 60 days for it to be readily available when the government requested it. To support this, network operators are also required for providing technical assistance and support when it comes to national security and criminal investigations.
According to security experts and online users, a lot of Chinese consider the rampant abuse of their personal information by business more annoying than the "Great Firewall" government censoring and monitoring.
A joint research report done by Digital Center of China Internet and Internet security company Qihoo 360 Technology Co. shows that 92 percent of the 600 non-gaming applications on Android-based smartphones are asking for access to location information, 49 percent for phone contacts, and 46 percent for reading text messages.
This shows that the access to personal information by businesses is widespread, which can either be used for fraudulent activities or be sold to other companies.