A number of media outlets have picked up on a China-based data leak this week; one which appears to list 1.8 million single women by their “BreedReady” status.
The exposed information also includes phone numbers, addresses, education levels, locations, ID numbers and more.
The cache was uncovered by Victor Gevers of the non-profit safe internet group GDI Foundation (not affiliated with Global Dating Insights). Around 90% of the women in the data set were single (with the remainder divorced or widowed), and 82% lived in Beijing.
Several theories have emerged as to the origin of the data set, with many expressing concern over the intended function of the BreedReady statistic. Gevers noted that China has a shortage of women, suggesting that this may be a reason for tracking those of childbearing age.
The youngest girl in the database is 15 years old, marked with a ‘0’ on the measure. Women between 18 and 39 were often assigned the value ’1’. The oldest woman with a BreedReady value of 0 was aged 95.
Some commentators are comparing the binary metric to dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, wherein women are forced to have children by an oppressive government.
Others have argued that the data set likely belongs to an online dating platform. BreedReady may be a bad English translation of an innocuous data point, such as whether or not a woman is interested in having children.
Should a dating platform be responsible, the vulnerability would make the data leak one of the largest in recent times.
In February, 6,174,513 Coffee Meets Bagel users had their information listed for sale on the dark web.
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