Abeerah Hashim reports:
As disclosed recently, a Chinese database left millions of sensitive records exposed online. Apart from the sensitive personal information of more than 1.8 million women, it also had stats about ‘breedready’ women.
The news first surfaced online from a Dutch researcher’s tweet. While searching for open databases in China, he came across this one. The researcher Victor Gevers belongs to a non-profit group GDI Foundation.
Read more on Latest Hacking News.
Revealing this leak and somewhat naming and shaming represents a significant departure for the researcher. Gevers has always been about responsible disclosure and helping people secure data — not exposing their failures. But as he has explained, he has recently come across some leaks with serious social/political implications, and has started exploring whether he should reveal those publicly or not. The “breedready” women and one involving surveillance of Muslims have been two such cases where he has not kept leaks quiet.
Ethically, I think he’s doing the right thing. Those who are engaged in human rights violations should not be protected from public scrutiny if we find out what they are doing. Victor didn’t hack any entity.. he just discovered a leak. There’s nothing that stops him from disclosing that and if we want to change society for the better, then such revelations may increase public awareness of what we need to think about.