Renrou sousuo, which literally means "human flesh search", is a popular method used by online vigilantes to unearth supposed villains. Through searching on the Internet and capitalizing on the interpersonal networks, it aims to expose scandals. However, it might infringe on citizens' privacy, argues an article on the website www.people.com.cn. The following is an excerpt:
Last year renrou sousuo played a crucial role in exposing scandals such as the faked South China tiger photos, the death of actress Tan Jin, and so forth. It does contribute to the scrutiny of not only individuals but authorities.
The specific methods, however, might infringe on privacy rights. The private information of an individual are all displayed on the Internet without due permission. Hence new regulation is needed to maintain its positive function while preventing it from violating citizens' privacy rights.
(China Daily 03/03/2009 page6)