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Head of tech firm prosecuted for trading in large amount of personal data

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HCMC – The Ministry of Public Security’s investigators on May 17 filed charges against Lai Thi Phuong, director of VNIT TECH Company, and her husband, Du Anh Quy for “offering or using computer network, telecom network information illegally”.

According to the investigators, in late January this year, the ministry’s taskforce in coordination with the police in Hanoi, HCMC, Thanh Hoa, Long An and Dong Nai raided seven locations and pressed charges against 15 suspects and disabled six large-scale rings of data trading and appropriating. After that, the ministry decided to prosecute Phuong and Quy.

The investigation results showed that Phuong, her husband and other suspects had illegally collected, appropriated and bought nearly 1,300 gigabytes of data containing a billion pieces of information about individuals and organizations nationwide who were customers of electricity companies, students and their parents, banking customers including those of major banks in Vietnam; information about business registration, human resources of State agencies, insurance, household registration books; information linked to clients of property projects nationwide; among many others.

Many suspects pledged the accuracy of the provided data and that they could update and extract data upon the request of data buyers. The data was offered for sale publicly on various websites, accounts, pages and groups on social media such as Facebook, Zalo, Telegram and hacker forums.

The suspects collected the data through various means, including taking advantage of the right to manage the information systems at State agencies and businesses for data extraction, said the police.

During the investigation, the forces also discovered a host of individuals and companies such as insurers, foreign language centers and realty firms had bought a large amount of data from these suspects for illegal commercial gain.

Further, after appropriating the data, the suspects started selling it but the operators of the information systems did not detect it and took no measures to prevent their illegal activities, to report them to law enforcement or to perform their responsibility to their affected customers.

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