After the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly issued a judicial interpretation on Tuesday on punishments for those guilty of stealing and selling people's personal information, the Ministry of Public Security also vowed to crack down on the illegal chains that have formed for the trading of personal information. An editorial on thepaper.cn comments:
By vowing to target the illegal chain, the Ministry of Public Security has announced it will strike at the root of the problem.
As early as 2009, theft of citizens' personal information was listed as an offense in the Criminal Law, but the stealing and selling of personal information has remained rampant.
Worse, some personal information has been sold to criminals. Last August, Xu Yuyu, an 18-year-old girl from Shandong province, died of cardiac arrest after she was defrauded of 9,900 yuan ($1,434).
It was the theft of her personal information that led to her death, as the fraudsters knew that she had just been enrolled into a university and phoned her saying she was to receive a student subsidy but needed to activate the account by transferring her money to it.
Hundreds of thousands of people become victims of personal information theft nationwide every year.
There are multiple causes for the problem, and one of them is that some of those with access to people's information sell it illegally for profit.
Media reports have exposed many such cases: Bank mangers selling clients' credit reports, police officers selling residents' basic information, even airline company staff selling the flight information of passengers.
Unless these suspects get their deserved penalties, the rampancy of selling personal information will not be curbed. It is time to better protect people's personal information and severely punish those who steal and sell it.
That is why the judicial interpretation comes at the right time. It has made clear that those abusing their power in hand by selling personal information will be brought to justice.
It can be expected that greater efforts will be made by the authorities to break the chains of selling personal information.