The mainland’s “Procuratorial Daily” reported on the 24th that a mainland woman hid from Shaanxi to Jiangsu in order to escape her ex-boyfriend. She was still followed by her ex-boyfriend in 2019 and was unfortunately killed. Suzhou prosecutor Hu Shuqiong made an in-depth investigation and found that the deceased clicked on a news link sent by the murderer, and her location was locked. For this reason, the prosecution persevered and scrambled to find the app operators Zhao and Huang who maliciously tracked the app. They finally filed a case in 2022 to prosecute the “accomplices” behind the murder case, and were sentenced to four years in prison by the court. months, four years and nine months, fines and confiscation of illegal gains.
According to reports, in 2017, a girl surnamed Jia in Shaanxi fell in love with a man surnamed Liu. The two often quarreled. Jia Nv decided to break up in March 2019 because she discovered that Liu Nan had deliberately concealed criminal records such as intentional injury and robbery. Liu refused to break up and frequently harassed her by phone. I work in Hefei and don’t meet Liu Nan.
Unexpectedly, one day in June 2019, Jia Nu suddenly received a news link from Liu Nan. She didn’t think much about clicking on it, but she didn’t know that her location information had been leaked.
A week later, when Jia Nu came home from get off work, Liu Nan followed her to her residence, and the two had a heated argument. Out of control, Liu Nan picked up the scissors in the room and stabbed Jia Nu to death. And voluntarily surrendered to the public security organ. At the end of August 2019, the public security organ submitted Liu’s suspected intentional homicide to the Gusu District Procuratorate of Suzhou City for approval of arrest. Prosecutor Hu Shuqiong undertook the case.
Liu Nan confessed to killing Jia Nu. In September 2019, the Suzhou District Procuratorate approved the arrest of Liu on suspicion of intentional homicide.
When reviewing the case file, prosecutor Hu Shuqiong found that Liu used an app to locate other people’s location information after paying. Send Jia Nu a news link in the app. After the deceased clicked on it, the suspect received her location information.
“It turned out that the information leak cost Jia his life!” Hu Shuqiong realized that the service provided by this app had exceeded the normal range, and the operator might be involved in the crime of violating citizens’ personal information.
To this end, in January 2020, the Suzhou District Procuratorate commissioned Soochow University to provide technical analysis and consultation. It turns out that the operator of this app registered a map developer account in his own name and obtained the right to use the API (application programming interface) of the map. After the user pays the service fee online, the operator writes the web page code to embed the map API into the news link. The user sends the link to the person being located. Once the person being located opens the link, the location can be located instantly and the obtained location information can be sent to the user.
Subsequently, according to the method of Liu’s confession, the prosecutor carried out several investigation experiments on the app positioning service: after the user paid the service fee, he randomly selected a news link in the app and sent it to the target, and the target clicked on it. After the link, you will receive a prompt pop-up window “Do you agree to use your current location”.
After repeated operations and verification, the prosecutor found that no matter whether the person being located clicks “Yes” or “No”, his real-time location will be accurately located and sent to the paying user through the app.
During the whole process, the App not only did not set up a privacy agreement, nor did it expressly express the purpose, method and scope of collecting and using personal information, nor did it inform the targeted person that their location information would be provided to others, which clearly belongs to the category of “untargeted person”. agree to provide personal information to others”.
So far, the prosecutor confirmed that the app operator sold the obtained track information to users without the knowledge of the targeted person, which is a violation of the law and suspected of violating citizens’ personal information.
According to mainland China’s “Criminal Law”, one of the “especially serious circumstances” of the crime of violating citizens’ personal information is to cause serious consequences such as death, serious injury, mental disorder, or kidnapping of the victim.
Prosecutors believe that it was precisely because this app illegally obtained and leaked the personal information of the victim, Jia Nu, and guided Liu Nan to find her step by step, which led to the murder of Jia Nu. The behavior of this app has a causal relationship with Jia’s death in the “Criminal Law”, which belongs to one of the circumstances of “especially serious circumstances”.
In February 2020, the Suzhou District Procuratorate asked the public security organs to file a case for investigation of the alleged infringement of citizens’ personal information by the app. As the case is a new type of crime, it is difficult to investigate and collect evidence. In November 2020, Zhao and Huang, the operators of the app, were arrested and brought to justice. In November 2021, the case of Zhao and Huang suspected of infringing citizens’ personal information was transferred to the Suzhou District Procuratorate for review and prosecution.
After investigation, from April 2018 to November 2020, this app illegally provided or sold 4,572 pieces of personal whereabouts and track information of citizens, with illegal income of more than 80,000 yuan (RMB, the same below). After arriving at the case, Zhao and Huang voluntarily pleaded guilty and accepted punishment. In July 2022, the court sentenced the defendants Zhao and Huang to four years and six months and four years and nine months respectively for the crime of violating citizens’ personal information, and imposed a fine and confiscated illegal gains. Previously, Liu Nan was sentenced to death by the court in October 2020, with a two-year reprieve. None of the three filed an appeal.
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