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Details

WeChat ‘Extends China’s Internet’ to Wherever Users Are in The World

WeChat Logo

Concerns are growing over overseas censorship and surveillance via Tencent’s WeChat social media app, with the U.S. banning business with its parent entity, and rights activists describing it as a “prison” that keeps users within reach of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s censors and law enforcement operations far beyond China’s borders.

Launched by Tencent in 2011, WeChat now has more than 1.1 billion users, second only to WhatsApp and Facebook, but the company keeps users behind China’s complex system of blocks, filters and human censorship known as the Great Firewall, even when they are physically in another country.

The app is also used by China’s state security police to carry out surveillance and harassment of dissidents and activists in exile who speak out about human rights abuses in the country, or campaign for democratic reform.

And it’s not just Chinese nationals who are being targeted.

In May 2020, researchers at CitizenLab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto warned that anyone using WeChat, even if they have lived their whole lives outside China, is “subject to pervasive content surveillance that was previously thought to be exclusively reserved for China-registered accounts.”

Documents and images transmitted entirely among non-China-registered accounts undergo content surveillance wherein these files are analyzed for content that is politically sensitive in China, the report, titled “We Chat, They Watch,” said.

“International users must consider an ethical issue: whenever they use WeChat, they are actually helping to train algorithmic robots to help oppress domestic users in China,” CitizenLab director Ron Deibert told RFA.

He said there are “very serious” security and privacy issues associated with WeChat and other Chinese apps, and called on app stores to highlight risks to users before they download such apps.

Cultural cleansing

U.S.-based rights activist Zhou Fengsuo said Chinese censorship has been allowed to flourish on American soil, in spite of the relative freedom of the online environment outside of China.

“The United States’ mistake has been that its free and open internet has allowed the CCP to occupy territory here, and build [virtual] fortresses that treat people as [virtual] slaves,” Zhou said.

“WeChat is extending the boundaries of the Chinese internet overseas,” he said. “It is unprecedented to use a country’s freedom in the interests of a country that restricts freedom.”

“It’s a kind of [cultural] cleansing. It makes me very angry to see it,” he said.

Wang Yaqiu, a China researcher at the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), said the use of WeChat by Chinese nationals even when overseas means that they have access to a less free version of the internet, even when outside China.

“For us, [WeChat] is like the Berlin Wall, or a prison,” Wang told RFA. “It’s very common for material posted on WeChat by Chinese overseas to be censored by the Chinese government.”

A source who has worked in online surveillance in China told RFA that any social media platform operating overseas are strictly regulated by the ministry of public security’s online supervision department, according to provisions in China’s national security legislation requiring Chinese companies to cooperate with security services at all times.

The source, who gave only a surname, You, said apps are only allowed to be developed in the first place through a strictly controlled system of licensing, meaning that the technical features of any software are also subject to technical input from the ministry.

“The Chinese authorities don’t allow apps to set up large user databases privately in overseas markets,” You said. “They can only send the data back to China.”

TikTok data fears

Such apps are also banned from cooperating with similar data requests from security and law enforcement agencies in other countries, he said.

“If that happens, they have to notify the Chinese government first, and then the data [must be destroyed].”

U.S. President Donald Trump last week issued a ban on U.S. transactions with Tencent and ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of video-sharing app TikTok, citing a security threat posed by the transfer of data belonging to U.S. citizens to China.

“The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” Trump said in the order targeting TikTok says, noting that the app has been downloaded more than 175 million times in the U.S.

The order also highlighted reports that the app censors content China deems politically sensitive, including protests over issues of autonomy in Hong Kong and Beijing’s abuses of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), and said it could be used to spread disinformation to benefit the CCP.

Canada-based lawyer Zhu Keliang said there are some security concerns, but that he and around 200 other Chinese-American lawyers are filing a legal challenge to the order because they rely on WeChat to stay in touch with loved ones back home.

“There is some truth to the concerns, and there are many problems with WeChat, but other apps such as Facebook … in the U.S. have issues related to data security and monopoly too,” Zhu told RFA. “But Americans should have the right to decide whether or not they will use it.”

“I don’t think President Trump has the right to do that for us,” Zhu said, adding that he believes that the move is disproportionate.

He said the lawyers are thinking about filing lawsuits in Washington State and California, and applying to the court for a temporary injunction to suspend the implementation of the executive orders, which are due to take effect on Sept. 20, 2020.

According to NBC, TikTok has also filed a lawsuit challenging the order at a federal court in southern California.

Tencent and ByteDance hadn’t responded to requests for comment by the time of writing.

Reported by Jane Tang for RFA’s Mandarin Service, and by Ma Lap-hak and Wu Hoi-man for the Cantonese Service. Translated and 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 New Cases 44,376 in Last 24 Hours.

Total Cases: 9,177,840 Deaths 134,218

COVID-19 Vaccine Related News:
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All these vaccines are in trial conditions and final trial results are coming soon.

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.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

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.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

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.

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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