Caixin
Oct 24, 2016 06:24 PM

Alibaba's Jack Ma Urges Security Authorities to Use Big Data to Crack Down On Crime

(Beijing) — E-commerce tycoon Jack Ma has proposed that China's security bureau use big data to crack down on crime, showing his support for the government practice of demanding companies share data with authorities.

"It's easy to re-evaluate past actions or decisions after the fact, but what can we do beforehand to prevent crimes?" the founder and CEO of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said at a lecture in Beijing.

Ma made his remarks while speaking to officials of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, which oversees national legal enforcement matters, the state-owned China Daily newspaper reported on Saturday.

The answer lies in big data, Ma said. For example, "it's normal when one person buys a pressure cooker, or a clock, or steel balls or even gunpowder. But if one person buys all these things at the same time, it is peculiar. Without big data, how do you know he is making a bomb?"

Top officials from the Ministry of Public Security, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the country's top prosecutor's office, attended the lecture, according to China Daily. More than 1.5 million police officers also watched the lecture online.

Companies in China have been ordered to share data with Chinese authorities when requested. In 2015, Alibaba started offering local governments access to its service to track shopping transactions and the number of packages shipped out of or delivered to their region. It also has a 2,000-member cybersecurity task force to help government agencies crack down on intellectual property violations and online scams.

Contact reporter Chen Na (nachen@caixin.com); editor Kerry Nelson (kerry@caixin.com)

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