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Claims of the largest cyberattack in Chinese history have sparked an open debate about the extent to which Beijing hoovers up personal data and uses private firms to safeguard that trove — a discussion that could have ramifications for the broader technology industry in China.

If verified, the purported theft of 23 terabytes of personal information on as many as a billion Chinese citizens from a Shanghai police database would rank as the country’s largest ever known data breach, if not one of the biggest leaks the world has seen.

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