The paparazzi make money from stalking and photographing celebrities in order to sell pictures to whoever wants to buy them. Unfortunately, some people have taken this practice a step further in the wrong direction.
A black market of fans purchasing private information of their favorite stars has begun to thrive. Just this February, Xu Kai was ordered takeout food in the middle of the night by an eager fan, The Wandering Earth star Qu Chuxiao’s mobile number and flight details were leaked as he received strange texts and was greeted by paparazzi when he got off the plane.
Based on the investigative report by mingxingzibenlun, a celebrity’s ID card can cost 35-50 yuan. Information which can include a celebrity’s ID card, passport, mobile number, census register, Beijing address, instagram, and QQ can be ordered per item or bundled together and sold as one. For example, Cai Xukun’s ID card would cost 40 yuan while someone who wants Zhu Yilong‘s ID and other pieces of information can get the bundle for 150 yuan.
What is disturbing is that this practice of selling personal data of celebrities seems commonplace and lucrative even though it is illegal. From what I can tell, China needs to strengthen its cyber security protocols as hackers are just wantonly getting information from anywhere, but tracing a hacker isn’t as easy as it sounds, and there may be difficulty in finding suspects. No suspects means nobody to prosecute. No prosecution means the crime will go unpunished and people will most certainly not stop stealing, selling and buying the personal information of people of interest. It takes two to tango, sellers can only sell something if there are people willing to pay. Perhaps this can only stop if crazy fans stop engaging in this activity.