A major surveillance campaign run by a Chinese company in India has come to notice. The Indian Express newspaper has revealed this after a lengthy investigation. According to the newspaper, a Chinese technology company is constantly monitoring more than 10,000 individuals and organizations in India, including the Indian Prime Minister, the President, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chief of Defence Staff, several Union ministers, several chief ministers, opposition leaders and big industrialists like Ratan Tata and Gautam Adani.
The newspaper claims that Shenhua data information technology company, the company that runs the surveillance operation, has links with the Chinese government and the ruling Communist Party. The list of surveillance victims includes a number of officers, scientists and academicians, journalists, actors, players, religious leaders, and activists. Moreover, several accused facing multiple major financial crime cases, corruption, terrorism, and smuggling charges are also being monitored. In some reports in the international media, the company is said to be a security contractor of the Chinese government and is said to have spread the surveillance network all over the world. Under this, the company was monitoring more than 24 million people all over the world for the Chinese government. These include celebrities from the US, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, Germany, and the UAE.
The Indian Express has reported that a source, along with Christopher Balding, a professor in Vietnam, shared this information with several media organizations, including the Indian Express as well as the Australian Financial Review, Italy's Il Foglio, and London's The Daily Telegraph. The Chinese company itself says that its aim of collecting data in this way is "hybrid warfare," that is, to gain dominance through the use of civilian methods or to harm other forces. The company monitors and maintains all the information about the entire "digital footprint," which is available on the Internet.
In addition, the company also collects information about which people and organizations these people and organizations have relationships with. It also collects location and movement information. Experts say this is a matter of concern as many harmful steps can be taken through such profiling. Recently, the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation has also conducted research on it, which found that China has implemented the National Intelligence Law in 2017 itself, with 7 and 14 clearly stating that Chinese institutions and citizens may have to work for government intelligence agencies when needed.
After this information, Chinese citizens have been seen with suspicion all over the world. The United States has already imposed several restrictions on Chinese researchers and students. China has previously secured itself, i.e., no website can open in China unless the Chinese government allows it. Just as China began to use cyberspace for intelligence and surveillance, any country is capable of monitoring that kind of surveillance on China.
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