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Campaign to protect data online gathers steam

Police will investigate hackers or other cybercriminals to protect national and private information, according to the Ministry of Public Security. The special campaign, initiated by the ministry in September, will run until the end of this year, according to the ministry.

"Cybercrimes have a huge impact on some enterprises and the public's vital interests and we will resolutely fight them," according to a statement from the ministry.

In recent years, a growing number of online crimes infringing on private information have occurred nationwide, resulting in a high incidence of other crimes, such as telecom fraud, online fraud, blackmail or extortion.

Data released by the ministry show that, in 2016, police arrested 4,261 suspects for accessing personal information in 1,886 cases.

From January to June, authorities closed 73 illegal livestreaming platforms and imposed lifetime bans on 1,879 such outfits who violated regulations.

Commenting on the statistics, Shi Yanan, a law professor at Renmin University of China, said: "In China, the number of cybercrimes is on the rise, up 30 percent annually due to the lack of supervision and comprehensive management. The aim of combating cybercrimes is to protect people's information and reduce other crimes."

According to the ministry, suspects illegally obtain information ranging from ID information, phone numbers, home addresses, network account numbers, bank account details, passwords and shopping records. And gang members take on different tasks including that of information suppliers, telecom agents or traders. The suspects also traffic personal information and use fake ID information to engage in telecom or online fraud.

In a recent campaign led by the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications, a team arrested 50 suspects and took down 118 websites and 913 online billboards involved pornography or the trading of personal information.

According to the ministry, police officers will improve investigation abilities to deter such crimes. Besides, they will clean up the online environment, while working with other departments, including websites and online service providers to reduce cybercrime.

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