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Public Security Ministry probing sale of ID card data

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has ordered its relevant agencies to look into the online sale of personal data of around 10,000 ID cards, Lieutenant General To An Xo, office manager and spokesman of MPS, said on May 16.

Competent agencies will verify the online sale of 17GB of data taken from the data storage of Vietnamese people’s ID cards.

The images put up for sale online are from old ID cards and not electronic ones, Lieutenant General Xo said, adding that it was unknown where the personal information and images of ID cards were revealed as many agencies and units, including banks, land authorities, post offices and mobile phone shops, stored the information.

The office manager of MPS said that hackers, scammers or offenders could take advantage of the personal information of residents for illegal purposes.

Service operators should adopt security measures and closely manage their customers’ information and ask customers to only provide personal information based on the necessary levels, said Xo.

Lieutenant Colonel Dao Trung Hieu, an expert on criminology, said that the sale of personal information such as names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers is complicated. To access more customers for consumption of products and services, firms are willing to pay for personal information, he added.

Lieutenant Colonel Hieu said that many units and individuals that are in charge of managing and storing customers’ personal data consider this information as a valuable resource and sell it. This violates the regulation on data security.

Besides, personal information was disclosed due to hacker attacks, Tuoi Tre Online reported, citing Lieutenant Colonel Hieu.

Over the past two days, information wherein a member of a forum, Raid, sold information taken from the data storage of ID cards of some 10,000 Vietnamese people, has gone viral on social media.

An account named Ox1337xO said on the forum that the member owned a data storage, which contains customers’ names, dates of birth, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, ID cards and images of ID cards.

The data storage was put up for sale at US$9,000, or VND207 million, but the price was then revised down to US$4,300. The seller said that payment was only accepted via Bitcoin or Litecoin or through an intermediary unit.

Earlier, the member of the forum sold several data packages of Vietnamese people related to emails, transactions and payments priced from US$1,000.

Administrative fines or even criminal punishment are imposed on those violating regulations on information security based on violations and fields, said Lawyer Ha Hai, vice chairman of the HCMC Bar Association

Specifically, firms, individuals or organizations will be fined VND50-70 million if they illegally exchange, sell or buy personal data of telecom service users in line with the Government’s Decree 15.

Another example is that firms, units or individuals that sell, buy, exchange or publicize information of other firms, organizations or individuals without their permission can be sentenced up to seven years in line with Article 288 of the 2015 Penal Code.

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