Authorities bust data brokers with 100m pieces of personal data

Taipei–Law enforcement authorities have questioned 62 people on suspicion of illegally selling personal information and have confiscated computers containing about 100 million pieces of personal data, the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau said Thursday.

The bureau said it received a tip-off in March that a data brokerage group was suspected of profiteering by selling vast amounts of personal data.

After one month of investigations, the Taichung District Prosecutors Office then led more than 200 prosecutors and investigators in a search for the suspects that was launched Wednesday in 62 locations in northern, central and southern Taiwan.

During the operation, 62 suspects were brought in for questioning and 25 computers and related equipment were seized, according to the bureau.

After conducting a digital forensic investigation, bureau experts found that each computer contains approximately 200 gigabytes of personal information.

After questioning, two major suspects were delivered to the prosecutors office for further interrogation, and a request for them to be detained was filed with the district court.

The criminal ring is suspected of selling personal data beginning from last year to real estate agents and property development companies through a software system it developed to allow these companies to obtain information on landowners and provide ways to contact them. Each set of data was sold for NT$150,000-NT$200,000 (US$4,974-US$6,632).

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel