According to a court case ended this month, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. was the victim of a months-long web-scraping operation by a marketing consultant. A central Chinese court announced that an employee of a consultant who helps sellers on Alibaba’s Taobao online mall was guilty of siphoning up sensitive data, including usernames and phone numbers, since 2019.
Although the incident lasted for a couple of years, none of the user data was sold and didn’t incur financial losses from the episode, stated Alibaba.
The court ruled jail terms of more than three years and $70,260 in fines for the staffer and his employer.
The event comes when China is widening its efforts to tighten the ownership and handling the collection of data that giants like Alibaba, Tencent Holdings and Meituan have from hundreds of millions of users.
Starting September 1, a new data security regime will be implemented in China, allowing Xi Jinping’s administration to close or fine tech companies if found mishandling “core state data.”
At the moment of writing, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. stock price is trading 0.13% higher.
Sources: Bloomberg.com, finance.yahoo.com