Opinion / Opinion Line

Swindlers of people with HIV and those leaking their info must be punished

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-19 07:45

Swindlers of people with HIV and those leaking their info must be punished

An HIV positive patient, not pictured, receives a blood pressure test in Weishi county, Central China's Henan province in this Nov 30, 2015 file photo. [Photo/Xinhua]

MORE THAN 200 PEOPLE in 26 provinces and autonomous regions infected with HIV have recently received calls from fraudsters asking them to pay a registration fee to "apply for a government subsidy", according to statistics from White Birch, a Chinese non-governmental organization that helps those with HIV and AIDS. Protecting citizens' personal information is a legal responsibility of the government, and increasingly a harsh test of its governance ability in the information era, said Beijing Times on Monday. Excerpts:

The government and society should provide more medical support and care for those with HIV and AIDS. And they have the same legal rights as anyone else, so the public security and judicial authorities must act quickly to track down the suspected swindlers preying on those with HIV.

All those who received the phone calls have registered detailed personal information with local government departments, which then regularly report the information to higher public health authorities, according to Chinese law. It is highly possible that the information, which is intended for providing better care for people with HIV and AIDS, has been leaked and taken advantage of by fraudsters.

Since the government is the controller of the data, it should not be difficult to follow up the flow of information, and seize whoever is responsible for revealing the information. On the other hand, the government must take concrete actions to strengthen its mechanism to protect residents' personal information. Compared with leaking or trading of personal information by companies, the public sectors' leaking of personal information is potentially more harmful.

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