Chinese Police Arrest 15 Apple Contractor Employees for Pocketing over $7 Million Selling Customer Data
On June 8, Patently Apple posted a report titled "A Rogue Group of Chinese Apple Employees Arrested for Selling Apple Customer's Personal Data." It was reported at the time that Chinese authorities had confirmed that they uncovered a massive underground operation run by Apple employees selling computer and phone users' personal data. In total, twenty-two people had been detained on suspicion of infringing individuals' privacy and illegally obtaining their digital personal information. It's now being reported that 16 have been officially arrested for pockeing over US$7 million for selling customer data.
A new Chinese report states that Chinese police have arrested 16 people as part of a wider investigation into the theft and sale of Apple customers personal information including names, email accounts and addresses.
Of the 16, 15 of the were employees or former employees of an Apple contractor , the Guangzhou Telecom Yingke Company, Chinese state media reported Saturday.
The company provides after sales services to Apple and the workers had access to an enormous trove of customer's data including names, phone numbers, addresses, Apple IDs and other information.
Prosecutors say that dating back to August 2013, the suspects used the internal system to illegally siphon personal information of iPhone users. They then sold the info for between 10 yuan ($1.46) and 180 yuan ($26) a pop.
In July 2014, the ringleaders were fired by the company, but they continued to collude with remaining staff to steal information until last August.
A preliminary investigation has reportedly revealed the thieves made a staggering 50 million yuan (US$7.3 million) of profit.
The arrests were part of a wider investigation into an information theft ring which was first uncovered in January by police in eastern China's Zhejiang Province.
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