Evidence of China’s massive social programs involving surveillance keeps leaking out. And now Zack Whittaker reports that a smart city database leaked and was unsecured for weeks. Whose database is it? Given that it was hosted by tech giant Alibaba, it may belong to some commercial entity, but given that it was pulling in police data to match to facial recognition data, it might be a government customer. We just don’t know for sure, but TechCrunch took a look at what kinds of information was being collected.
Security researcher John Wethington found a smart city database accessible from a web browser without a password. He passed details of the database to TechCrunch in an effort to get the data secured.
The database was an Elasticsearch database, storing gigabytes of data — including facial recognition scans on hundreds of people over several months. The data was hosted by Chinese tech giant Alibaba. The customer, which Alibaba did not name, tapped into the tech giant’s artificial intelligence-powered cloud platform, known as City Brain.
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