It's being reported in China today that Chinese authorities have confirmed that they've "uncovered a massive underground operation run by Apple employees selling computer and phone users' personal data." This may seem like a direct hit on Apple's carefully created policies to protect customer privacy. However, the illegal acts of one rougue group doesn't reflect on Apple directly. It may give Apple a minor PR headache in China temporarily, but such illegal activities aren't sanctioned by Apple. It's not like the case of Samsung getting caught collecting information on their Smart TV owners which was company sanctioned.
The Chinese report notes that "Twenty-two people have been detained on suspicion of infringing individuals' privacy and illegally obtaining their digital personal information, according to a statement Wednesday from local police in southern Zhejiang province.
Of the 22 suspects, 20 were Apple employees who allegedly used the company's internal computer system to gather users' names, phone numbers, Apple IDs, and other data, which they sold as part of a scam worth more than 50 million yuan (US$7.36 million).
Following months of investigation, the statement said, police across more than four provinces — Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Fujian — apprehended the suspects over the weekend, seizing their "criminal tools" and dismantling their online network.
The suspects, who worked in direct marketing and outsourcing for Apple in China, allegedly charged between 10 yuan (US$1.50) and 180 yuan (US$26.50) for pieces of the illegally extracted data.
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