Although we’ve officially bade farewell to 2017, many are still looking back on the past year through a new service offered by Alipay, which allows users to check their annual bills.
A trend growing in popularity, is a lot of people, astonished by the amount of money they’ve spent in the last year, posting their annual bill on WeChat. However, act with caution; as it seems, most don’t know they are walking right into an ambush by using the service.
On January 3, Yue Shenshan who is a lawyer, exposed on Weibo that Alipay are setting up their users by automatically having them agree to allowing their personal information to be accessed. According to Yue, when using the new service, there is an option, which reads “I accept the Zhima Service Accord.” The checkbox is ticked by default.
“The Accord has nothing to do with viewing the annual bills,” explains Yue. “In other words, you can still use the service if you don’t agree to the accords. That being said, many people failed to notice this because the words are so small.”
So, what is this accord exactly? Zhima Credit is a service agency subject to Ant Financial which provides a series of credit-related services based on users’ personal information. If one agrees to the accords, Alipay will have access to all information and can provide this information to other organizations without accountability.
To make things worse, some netizens attempted to end the Zhima service, only to find out that they have unwittingly authorized to use other services as well, including credit card and bank services, which means this is far from the first time they have been railroaded by Alipay.
Zhima Credit have made an official statement on Weibo regarding the incident, where they admitted that they “have done something terribly wrong.” Also, they ensured their users that if they have never used the service before, then the service they authorized will be canceled.
Yesterday, the official account of Alipay reposted that statement and commented “I don't know what to say, but I will take the blame.”
Despite Alipay’s apology, it seems that netizens are not about to let them off the hook that easily. Under that post, one comment reads “What would happen if no one had exposed the misdeed?”
The age of big data has brought convenience to our life, but it also makes it much easier to collect our private information. So, this comes as a warning for all of us to double check before using any services and making sure we know what information is being accessed by third parties.