Chinese police have arrested a man for allegedly providing location tracking services to debt collectors, a novel case in which location-based mobile technologies were used to violate personal privacy.

Internet police from the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu arrested the 30-year-old man surnamed Wu, from China’s western Qinghai province, in March 2018. The incident was only made public by police in January and picked up by Chinese media this week.

The arrest followed complaints by a businessman surnamed Chen, who reported an incident in which he was tracked by debt collectors to Jiangsu police, according to state-owned radio broadcaster China National Radio (CNR). Wu, the apps’ creator, pleaded guilty to developing the location tracking platform dubbed “App Detective,” which could illegally access a number of online messaging platforms to provide real-time location tracking services.

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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen