Anne-Marie Brady

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A woman passes a tarp emblazoned with a Chinese flag on a street in Belgrade, Serbia, on April 13. (Darko Vojinovic/AP)

Last week, a small Chinese company made headlines when independent researchers revealed that it has been collecting information on prominent individuals around the world — 2.4 million of them.

American researcher Christopher Balding and his colleague Robert Potter discovered the database and were able to recover 10 percent of it. The database was created by Zhenhua Data Information Technology, a firm based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

At first glance, the company’s activities might not appear especially unusual. Many companies around the world scrape data from the Web to build databases for clients.

Yet what makes the Zhenhua collection effort striking is its extraordinary scale, which encompasses every country and territory in the world.…  Seguir leyendo »