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Alibaba Victim of Huge Data Leak as China Tightens Security

  • It accused an external party of siphoning off user data
  • Alibaba said none of the data was sold to a third party
The Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. headquarters in Hangzhou, China, earlier in May.

The Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. headquarters in Hangzhou, China, earlier in May.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
Updated on

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. was the victim of a months-long web-scraping operation by a marketing consultant that siphoned up sensitive data including usernames and phone numbers, according to a court case that wrapped in June.

A central Chinese court ruled that an employee of a consultant that helps merchants on Alibaba’s Taobao online mall was guilty of dredging up more than a billion data items on Taobao users since 2019, using that to serve clients. The court imposed jail terms of more than three years on the staffer and his employer, alongside fines totaling 450,000 yuan ($70,260).