More than 90 percent of Chinese are concerned that their private details have the potential to be leaked. A national survey found that 91.8 percent of respondents were worried that private information could too easily be revealed and used illegally.
And 74 percent went further saying tougher laws were needed to protect privacy.
The survey, carried out by national newspaper China Youth Daily and the Sina.com website in May, involved 4,003 people.
Of those 39.8 percent said they regularly received unsolicited calls or text messages from companies trying to sell them something. Just over 53 percent occasionally received such calls or messages. People were shocked that the unwelcome callers appeared to know so much about them.
They said some companies not only knew their name, mobile phone number, place of work, income and identification card number but also their children's birthdays, the direction their apartment faced and the license number and brand of their new cars.
At a website, called "Souren" or "personal search," the personal details of 90 million people can be accessed, including phone numbers, addresses and places of employment. .
In conclusion the survey said government departments were to blame. "Tempted by personal gain, people and departments with access to such information sell it to commercial entities seeking customers," it said.
During the annual sessions of the National People's Congress this year and last lawmakers called for enhanced legislation to protect personal information.
NPC deputy Zhang Xuedong said, "We urgently need a personal information protection law."
China began drafting such a law in 2003 but it has yet to be listed in the NPC's five-year legislation plan.
(China Daily June 6, 2006)