Chinese envoy summoned over ‘surveillance’

by Times of India

NEW DELHI: The foreign ministry on Wednesday summoned Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong and raised the issue of alleged surveillance through social media scraping on prominent Indians by Chinese company Zhenhua Data Information Technology.

The government feels the activities of the firm further justify its decision to ban Chinese apps. Official sources said the government had constituted an expert committee under the National Cyber Security Coordinator to study the Zhenhua data leak reports, evaluate their implications, assess any violations of law and submit its recommendations within 30 days.

Reports on Zhenhua’s activities were reported in the Indian Express. Foreign minister

S Jaishankar

communicated the decision to Congress MP

K C Venugopal

in response to demands from him and other MPs for protecting data of Indian leaders and others from spying by Chinese companies, sources said. China has said Zhenhua is a private company and has stated its position publicly. B

Beijing

maintained that the company’s clients were research institutions and business groups and that instead of collecting data, it only mobilised data which was open and available online. “Government of India is deeply concerned with any report that suggests that foreign sources are accessing or seeking to access the personal data of our citizens without their consent,” a source said.

Government sources highlighted that the concerns raised by the international investigation were something they had been focused on. They formed part of the reasons for the government to move against Chinese apps. The issues about

data mining

and surveillance were serious and India needed to push back, they said.

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