A data containing sensitive information on more than 1.8 million Chinese women, including their “BreedReady” status, has been uncovered.
Dutch cyber expert Victor Gevers posted partially redacted details of the online database last week.
The insecure data includes the identity numbers, education and marital status of nearly two million women in China. The database includes the "BreedReady" status of the women, which is listed as a numerical figure.
It’s unclear whether the category refers to women of childbearing age or women who already have children, but the youngest woman in the list is 15 years old and the oldest is 95.
Nearly 90 percent of the women on the database were single, and the average age was 32 years old.
“I can’t draw a conclusion, but who in their right mind chooses such column names? In an open database?” Gevers wrote on Twitter. “I have seen a lot of things online but this one must be the weirdest ones out there so far.”
Gevers said it was unclear who had created and posted the database, but that it has since been taken offline.
“At this moment we still have no clear who the owner of the database is,” Gevers said. “It has been taken down and no more new activities have been detected on this server.”
There is no information yet on whether it was created by the government department, a dating app or another organisation or company in the country, or was the result of hackers accessing a dating app’s database.
It comes as China faces a long period of “unstoppable” population decline, with an expected peak of 1.44 billion people in 2029. National Bureau of Statistics data showed that the growth rate has been in steady decline, with new births in China falling to 15.23 million in 2018, nearly 2 million fewer than the previous year.
A user on Chinese social media platform Weibo said the database is “horrifying”.
“It’s just so weird...they even have ID numbers, phone numbers, home addresses and even indication of whether [they are] breed-ready,” they said.
The 'BreedReady' database has also been likened to dystopian novel and TV show The Handmaid’s Tale, which involves fertile women being placed into child-birthing service.
“This kind of database is very indicative and frightening,” another Weibo user posted. “I’m a pessimist and the fact that stories like The Handmaid’s Tale exist means the signs are already there.”
Gevers also recently uncovered another unprotected database that included personal information of about 2.5 million residents in the western Xinjiang province in February.