Caixin
Jun 06, 2017 06:25 AM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

Two Employees of Major Job Site on Trial for Allegedly Selling Private Information

Job-seekers attend a large-scale recruitment event, in which 500 companies participated, with over 9,000 job vacancies, in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, on March 6, 2015. Photo: IC
Job-seekers attend a large-scale recruitment event, in which 500 companies participated, with over 9,000 job vacancies, in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, on March 6, 2015. Photo: IC

(Beijing) - Two employees from one of China’s largest online recruitment firms are on trial for allegedly selling thousands of résumés to third-party headhunters without consent from job applicants.

Shen Huan, an employee at Zhaopin.com, is accused of stealing 155,000 copies of résumés with help from a colleague working at the company's customer services unit from March to October last year, according to trial documents from the Chaoyang District People's Court in Beijing. The two were charged with violating private information laws.

Shen allegedly sold the data to an associate working with several headhunting firms for 2 or 2.5 yuan per job seeker bio, which was far below the 50 yuan per résumé Zhaopin.com charged employers looking for new hires.

They were able to access Zhaopin’s database by exploiting a flaw in the company's information oversight system, court documents showed.

Paid subscribers to Zhaopin.com usually request the company’s customer services department for details of job seekers who satisfies a certain job-profile. Client services staff query Zhaopin’s main database and give users a new password to download the results each time they make an inquiry.

Zhaopin’s internal data protection procedures require its customer services team to delete all search results related to client queries once the information has been downloaded.

However, the customer services employee standing trial is accused of deliberately neglecting such orders and sharing passwords with Shen, who allegedly used them to download thousands of résumés that fit different job profiles, court documents said. In return, Shen is accused of paying his accomplice about 40,000 yuan.

The alleged breach was uncovered during an internal inspection in June, 2016 and police detained the two Zhaopin.com employees and another man working for headhunters who bought the data in November.

No verdict was handed down at the end of the one-day trial on Friday, but prosecutors recommended up to six years in jail for the trio.

Illicit dealings in private information including telephone numbers, addresses, employment and income data by telecommunication company employees and hackers was a widespread problem in China.

Xu Yuyu, a 19-year old student in Shandong province, died of heart failure in August 2016 after she lost 10,000 yuan ‑ the money her family had saved for college ‑ to scammers who had apparently accessed details of her financial aid application to the local education authority.

Contact reporter Li Rongde (rongdeli@caixin.com)

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