Indonesia threatens WhatsApp blockage as Afghanistan backs down from its threat

WhatsApp is really getting under the skin of the authorities in certain Asian and African countries. Just in the last couple days, there has been a move to block the service in Indonesia, and Afghan authorities have had to deny reports that they were planning to do the same. Last month it was China, and … Continue reading “Indonesia threatens WhatsApp blockage as Afghanistan backs down from its threat”

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  • Oct 31, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy, Security,

DHS expanding national biometrics database to hold details on over 500 million people, including many US citizens

We’ve just written about China’s ambitious plans to add voiceprints to its existing national biometrics databases. Given the country’s long record of keeping a close watch on its citizens, it’s easy to see this as part of China’s surveillance exceptionalism – the common belief that it is “different”, and that its experiences don’t have much … Continue reading “DHS expanding national biometrics database to hold details on over 500 million people, including many US citizens”

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  • Oct 26, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy, Security,

China is quietly building a national voiceprint database to allow automated speaker recognition

It’s hardly a secret that China conducts massive surveillance of all kinds, as Privacy News Online has reported many times. And yet it seems that the authorities there are still coming up with new ways to check on their 1.4 billion citizens. For example, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has just written a fascinating description of … Continue reading “China is quietly building a national voiceprint database to allow automated speaker recognition”

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  • Sep 15, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy, Security,

The Chinese IT giant Huawei has big plans for the cloud in Western markets, with important implications for privacy

Some Chinese high-tech companies may be bigger than you think. The e-commerce giant Alibaba has a market capitalization of over $400 billion. The social media and gaming company Tencent is not far behind, and nearly a billion people use its WeChat messaging service. Baidu is the world’s second largest search engine, and is increasingly strong … Continue reading “The Chinese IT giant Huawei has big plans for the cloud in Western markets, with important implications for privacy”

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Apple removes VPN apps from the Chinese App Store on government orders

Today, Chinese iPhone users woke up to discover that censorship-defeating apps such as the Private Internet Access VPN app are no longer present in the Chinese Apple App store. The move comes after the Chinese government launched an inquiry into Apple’s App Store content back in April of 2017 – targeting several livestreaming sites. Recently, along … Continue reading “Apple removes VPN apps from the Chinese App Store on government orders”

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  • Jul 23, 2017
  • Caleb Chen
  • Governments, News, Privacy, Security,

In Xinjiang, China, police have set up checkpoints to ensure that the government-mandated “Jingwang” spyware is installed

In Xinjiang, China, citizens are being forced to install a targeted surveillance mobile app called Jingwang. Additionally, the government has set up random checkpoints on the streets to check whether the spyware is properly installed on your smartphone. On July 10th, mobile phone users in the region received a notification letting them know that they … Continue reading “In Xinjiang, China, police have set up checkpoints to ensure that the government-mandated “Jingwang” spyware is installed”

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  • Jul 20, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, Privacy, Security,

Putting together the pieces of the Chinese VPN jigsaw puzzle

VPNs are indispensable tools for today’s Internet users, and nowhere more so than in China. The famous “Great Firewall of China” – the name given to the set of technologies used to enforce censorship of foreign sites – can be circumvented by VPNs, but not in a consistent way. Sometimes VPNs are blocked, sometimes they … Continue reading “Putting together the pieces of the Chinese VPN jigsaw puzzle”

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Chinese government denies plans to block personal use of VPN in China

Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that China was in the process of blocking VPN in China by February 1st, 2018. Inside sources told Bloomberg that state-owned internet service providers (ISPs) in China, namely China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom which together serve more than 1.35 billion subscribers, were told to block access to personal VPNs, or virtual … Continue reading “Chinese government denies plans to block personal use of VPN in China”

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  • Jul 10, 2017
  • Caleb Chen
  • Governments, Networking, News,

Great Firewall of China: Chinese government orders ISPs to block personal VPN use by February 1st

The Great Firewall of China is being bolstered in the coming months – increasing censorship for over a billion internet users. According to Bloomberg, the Chinese government has told state-owned internet service providers (ISPs) and telecommunication providers to block access to personal virtual private networks (VPNs) by February 1st, 2018. How they will technically accomplish … Continue reading “Great Firewall of China: Chinese government orders ISPs to block personal VPN use by February 1st”

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  • Jun 1, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Bitcoin, Governments, News, Privacy,

Why the Chinese love clunky QR codes, despite privacy and security shortcomings

As you may have noticed, there’s a lot of interest in bitcoin at the moment. According to one analysis, a key factor driving the digital currency to record highs is rising demand from China. That may be true for serious investors there, but for most of China’s billion-plus citizens, when it comes to digital payments, … Continue reading “Why the Chinese love clunky QR codes, despite privacy and security shortcomings”

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