02:49 GMT12 July 2020
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    A Chinese database holds the personal information of more than 1.8 million women, including what is referred to as their “BreedReady” status, according to an internet expert.

    The database was recently uncovered by Victor Gevers, a Dutch internet expert from the GDI Foundation, a nonprofit group that explores and shares internet security vulnerabilities to assist users. Gevers stumbled across the insecure data cache while digging for databases in China.

    ​On Saturday, Gevers tweeted a screenshot of the database with the caption, "In China, they have a shortage of women. So an organization started to build a database to start registering over 1.8 million women with all kinds of details like phone numbers, addresses, education, location, ID number, marital status, and a ‘BreedReady' status?"

    The screenshot reveals that the database contains fields labeled in English for sex, age, education, marital status and "BreedReady," which is likely used to indicate whether a woman is of child-bearing age. The database was deleted Monday afternoon, Gevers told the Guardian.

    China's one-child policy was first introduced to the public in the late 1970s, amid concerns that a booming population would overwhelm the country's economy and geography. However, since then, the Chinese population's growth rate has continued to slow. Facing a serious demographic problem of a shrinking workforce and an aging population, authorities in Beijing relaxed the one-child policy in 2016, allowing couples to have two children. 

    A recent report by the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission reveals that China's net population growth for the first eight months of 2018 was 4.1 million, compared to India's 14 million during the same time period, suggesting that China faces the risk of being overtaken by India as the world's most populous nation, Sputnik previously reported.

    According to Gevers, it is yet unclear whether the database is connected to a dating app, a government registry or some other organization, as he's still working to verify the data.

    "More than this, we don't have at the moment. Our primary concern is that it gets secured ASAP," he recently told the Guardian.

    The average age of women in the database was 32, while the youngest was 15. The youngest age for a woman given a "BreedReady" status was 18 years old. The database also included columns labeled "political" and "hasvideo," with links to what appear to be Facebook profiles. Facebook is blocked in China and is only accessible through virtual private networks.

    ​Gevers also told the Guardian that he is currently reaching out to some of the women who had their Facebook profiles linked to determine if they are aware of the database.

    Last month, Gevers uncovered that Chinese surveillance firm SenseNets is closely monitoring the movements of an estimated 2.5 million people in Xinjiang — an autonomous territory in northwest China.

    The data included residents' names, ID card numbers, addresses, dates of birth and employers, as well as a list of GPS coordinates updating in real time. The GPS data points were also marked with descriptions such as "mosque," "hotel" or "internet cafe," Sputnik previously reported.


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    data privacy, identification, cyber, database, China
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