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Details

Chinese Police Target Muslim Minorities Using Digital Forensics: Researcher

Meiya Pico Logo

An app developed by Chinese digital forensics giant Meiya Pico is used in the mass surveillance of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, Ningxia and Yunnan, according to an anthropologist who has spoken with a former Kazakh security officer, one among some 90,000 who now patrol the streets of Xinjiang, searching people’s devices. Darren Byler, a postdoctoral researcher in anthropology at the Asian Studies Center at the University of Colorado, explained to RFA’s Mandarin Service how the app is used on the ground:

Meiya Pico is a digital forensics company, which means that … they help police, they help investigators to find data that is hidden on devices. So what they’ve done is they’ve worked with the Public Security Bureau and others to develop a system and a device that will look for data that’s hidden on people’s devices, that has to do with Islam or with politics, with many flagged [keywords]. So there [are] thousands and thousands of these things that they’re looking for.

And they can assess someone’s device very quickly. So they just plug it into your device and then it will scan it very quickly. It looks a lot like a smartphone. It has the same kind of interface as a smartphone. It’s actually an Android device, but it has a cable that will attach that phone to your phone. And then basically it takes all of the information from your phone onto this device and then scans through it very quickly.

It can do a lot of things. You can even look for passwords and keys for things that are password protected on your own phone. Once it captures those passwords, then it can try to enter that application on your phone and it will search through your chat history to look at your images or look at videos, [capturing] all of these things. And in the context of Xinjiang, they’re really looking for things to do with Islam for the most part, and also politics.

Your phone has to be turned on, I think, for it to work, and so they will ask you to turn on your phone. They might also have to ask you to open your phone, especially if it’s an iPhone, because I think it’s not always successful in opening [an] iPhone. So there are some ways they coerce you into helping them to do it. But because … they know that you can be sent to [a re-education] camp if you refuse to cooperate. So people always just give their password to the police.

I found some evidence that they are beginning to trial these devices to send them to police departments in other places [outside of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region]. For instance, they’re using them in Ningxia to target Hui [Muslims]. And in some places in Yunnan, they’re using them to target people. They’re also using it at the borders. I haven’t looked exhaustively, but at least some borders in China that when you enter China … you can have your phone scanned with one of these devices.

Meiya Pico itself has talked about wanting to really expand along the Belt and Road [countries involved in China’s international infrastructure program]. And so they’ve already begun that to some extent … It definitely is happening. But that’s part of what the people want to do, is they want to market their data tools to other companies, other countries.

It is important to know that Meiya is a kind of cutting edge company when it comes to digital forensics. [It] is one of the leading companies in the world.

It’s considered a major national company in China … at the forefront of technology growth in China, [which] offers these kind of technology companies a really data-rich environment because there are so many people to target. And there’s so much money that’s being spent to build these systems specifically for Xinjiang. So it allows them to build the capacities of these systems, to test them, to research them.

And once they have those capacities built, then they can … adapt them for other purposes. So Xinjiang is kind of a training ground where a lot of these new technologies are being developed.

[An export ban in the] U.S. stops American companies from providing tools or services or equipment to Meiya Pico.

To the extent they are always dependent on U.S. suppliers and then they can be harmed by this. But my sense is that … this is actually something that is showing how powerful they are as a company, that the U.S. is a threat … that means that they are really good at what they’re doing.

And I actually think that they’re starting to use it as a sort of marketing strategy that they can say, look, the U.S. cares so much about us.

We need to have global regulation against this kind of technology, that protects the rights of especially vulnerable populations. [Some] people … don’t have … civil rights protections to protect them against this kind of invasive policing.


Problem bigger than China

But the problem is bigger than just a China versus the U.S. issue, because in the U.S., the police departments are also using tools that are similar to these.

They’re using tools like Clearview, which allows police departments and other companies to do image searches of people that can scrape data from people’s social media, and they can track people in ways that are not that dissimilar from what Meiya Pico is doing. So really what we need is … a global kind of cyber court or legal system that would regulate all of these companies equally and prevent them from, you know, going into people’s private lives and targeting them in this way.

It’s important to know that … the things that they are looking for are not actually related to terrorism or extremism. They’re just normal expressions of Islam, just things like saying, you know, peace be unto you in Arabic or having a picture of Koran or even saying the word Allah, which is just a name for God. And so we need to have regulation that prevents the kind of abuse that Meiya Pico and others are perpetrating on people.

There are not enough … human rights and civil rights protections for people that are in marginalized positions, especially Muslim people in China, but other minorities as well. Any sexual minority or political minority, they can be targeted in similar ways. So it’s really the vulnerable people, the people that are at the margins of Chinese society and any society that needs the most protection from these kinds of tools.

Baimurat, the person I wrote about, was hired to be a kind of … assistant police, which means that he doesn’t have formal training as a police officer. He actually has a degree in something else. But he knew Chinese language … and so they hired him. And then he found that he was actually given one of these devices and would have to track people.

He and the other data police … were supposed to target Uyghurs and Kazakhs in particular and check their phones. And then he realized that when he checked their phones and it came back with like a red sign that this person should be detained, that they were being sent to a kind of prison camp or re-education camp.

And so he saw that lots of people, even his own relatives, were being sent to these camps. And then eventually he went inside the camp and he saw what conditions were like. And he felt really terrible that he had been part of the system … and really traumatized by it. He realized that he himself was not safe, that if he quit his job or if he didn’t follow orders, that he could also be sent to the camp.

And so he really wanted to just leave the system entirely … He managed to get back to Kazakhstan, but he’s still sort of haunted by the experiences and the things that he saw. And he feels terrible that he was complicit in this system that harmed so many people. I think his life is better now than it was before. But the system is ongoing … And he knows that many of his relatives are in the camps, and so it’s a difficult thing to live with.

Reported by Rita Cheng for RFA’s Mandarin Service. Edited by Luisetta Mudie

Copyright © 1998-2020, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rfa.org

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India COVID-19 News

 May 12, 2021

India Coronavirus Cases: 22,992,517 Deaths:249,992

How to identify Fake News or Messages on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they a.re developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

Without evidence or with fake evidence, a conspiracy theory will always remain a conspiracy theory.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+916289017966

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