From Iceland — Chinese Government Denies Involvement In Data Leak

Chinese Government Denies Involvement In Data Leak

Published October 7, 2020

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The Chinese Government has denied any involvement in the gathering of information of Icelanders on the list of Zhenhua Data Compay in China, Stundin reports.

In an email to Stundin, the Chinese Embassy in Iceland said that they were aware of reports from various media outlets that this list existed, and that work is now underway to make sure this news is accurate. “The Chinese Embassy in Iceland is aware of the coverage concerning the Zhenhua Data Company. We are currently seeking further information on the matter, and we cannot say whether this news is true or not.”

The list includes the names and information of many influential Icelanders, including ambassador and former prime minister Geir Haarde, and several MPs.

The embassy responded by referring to the Data Company’s claims that the news coverage is “significantly untrue” stating that “The company clearly stated that it was a private company unrelated to the Chinese government. Its clients are research institutes and groups. Instead of collecting the data, the company only works with available information in an open and accessible way on the internet. This is in no way different from what companies in other countries doing the same kind of business do.”

Global information security is a concern

It is currently unproven whether there is a connection between Zhenhua and the Chinese government and if the government is doing anything about the data collection. It is common knowledge that it is often difficult to understand the relationship between private companies and the government in China. The most famous example of this is the telecommunications company Huawei, which is believed, by some, to be owned by the Chinese government and used in surveillance and industrial intelligence. This has caused problems between the Chinese government, the US and Canada.

The Chinese embassy states further that the Chinese government is concerned about global information security, and is ready to participate in increased cooperation in the matter. “Ensuring the security of personal information is a common task and challenge for all nations in the world today. The Chinese government makes great efforts to ensure data security and has always safeguarded cyber security.”

Regardless of this response from the Chinese embassy, the purpose of the list is still unexplained.

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