CHINA has got access to personal data belonging to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as well as other MPs and high-profile UK figures, a leaked report has shown.
The database, used by China’s intelligence organisations, contains information on tens of thousands of British entities and their families. Mr Johnson, members of the Royal Family and military officers are some of the people targeted in the move.
The Chinese firm behind the compilation of files, Zhenhua Data, is understood to have links to China’s intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security.
Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, a critic of China and the unification of Huawei elements into the UK’s 5G network, had his and his family’s information compiled in the database.
Mr Tugendhat had previously raised concerns that he may be getting surveilled by Chinese intelligence.
He said the data leak marked an “important change” in the country’s tactic.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Mr Tugendhat said: “This is a further indication that their interest in UK politics has gone beyond the general and into the specific.
“What’s clear is that the Chinese government is seeking to get increasingly involved in politics abroad.
“Many of us know, through direct targeting in a crude way, that attempts to influence the “UK have gone beyond what was normal a few years ago, and this seems to indicate that private companies in China are being used as part of a wider information-gathering effort.
“This is an indication that they are now seeing the West, and particularly the United Kingdom, as the kind of sphere of influence in which they wish to have this level of granular detail.”
The information included in the disclosure shows that the server has been compiling “open-source” details such as dates of birth, addresses, marital status and photographs.
A report on the leaked files described how the data collected was sourced from “well known platforms as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as others”.
It added: “In addition to personal information, they logged information on posts, likes, and retweets.
“This allowed for a wide variety of relationship and key person targeting.”
However, experts argued that up to 20 percent of the data could not be found through an open source, which means it may have been collected from the dark web or through hacking.
The report stated: “The database included large amounts of public sector employee records.
“This includes everyone from known politicians to political aides to low level military personnel. The breadth of data capture was quite extensive.”
In the data files, Prince Charles is described as a “writer, polo player, entrepreneur, painter, helicopter pilot, children’s writer” as well as an “aristocrat”.
A spokesman for the Chinese government said: “China has not asked, and will not ask, companies or individuals to collect or provide data, information and intelligence stored within other countries’ territories for the Chinese government by installing ‘backdoors’ or by violating local laws.”