Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Social Media Shakedown: WeChat Admits It Gives Private User Data to the Chinese Government

Mod: When Arcadia's Mayor Pro Tem decides he wants to do a little communicating with his Mandarin speaking friends in Arcadia, Sho Tay goes on WeChat and let's them know what is on his mind. But is this really the wisest, or the kindest, thing he could be doing? According to a New York City based Chinese origin newspaper, Epoch Times, the answer here could very well be a no. That is, unless you really want your personal opinions being closely surveilled by Chinese state intelligence.

WeChat Confirms: It Shares Just About All Private Data With the Chinese Regime (Epoch Times link): China’s most popular messaging app WeChat now warns users in a privacy statement about how much of their private data the company shares with the Chinese regime. To no one’s surprise, it’s just about everything users type into the app.

Developed by the Chinese internet company Tencent, WeChat is China’s equivalent of WhatsApp and is used by 662 million mobile users, which makes it the dominant messaging app in China and one of the largest in the world.

WeChat users who updated to the latest patch are greeted with a new prompt that requires them to accept the privacy policy in order to continue using the app. Upon careful reading, the new privacy policy acknowledges that WeChat collects a whole range of data from its users, and to comply with “applicable laws or regulations” would readily share them with the Chinese regime.

Mayor Pro Tem WeChat selfie time?
Private log data from users such as “information about what you have searched for and looked at while using WeChat,” and “people you’ve communicated with and the time, data and duration of your communications” are among the things that WeChat freely stores and uses to customize advertisement and direct marketing.

WeChat also admits that it would “retain, preserve or disclose” users’ data to “comply with applicable laws or regulations.” Because China’s law enforcement agencies and security apparatus do not need a search warrant to seize a citizen’s property or private data, the Chinese regime would have access to just about everything WeChat users send through the app.

Users who refuse to accept the latest privacy policy would be unable to access WeChat with their accounts, until they change their mind and click the “accept” button. However, because users can resume using the app anytime with their pre-existing data intact, WeChat likely plans to store all the data for a prolonged period, even when a user explicitly refuses to let WeChat manage his or her own data anymore.

The new privacy policy contains few surprises for those that have long been criticizing WeChat for lacking privacy and security protections for its users. After all, observers have attributed the dominance of WeChat in China to the company’s close collaboration with the Chinese regime in implementing self-censorship and surveillance mechanisms in the app.

WeChat certainly got an assist from the Chinese regime when it started a partial blocking of WhatsApp in July. The blocking of WhatsApp eliminated one of the few remaining messaging apps available for users in China that was not controlled by the authoritarian regime.

The Chinese regime also recently announced on Sept. 7 a new regulation mandating that the participants of WeChat message groups be responsible for managing the information posted in their respective groups. Essentially, this means that a user in a message group could be held liable and even persecuted for information that others post in the group.

It has long been noted that WeChat is among the most heavily censored messaging apps. A 2016 survey done by Amnesty International that ranks the world’s most popular messaging apps in terms of privacy protection for users gave WeChat a score of 0 out of 100, meaning that users of WeChat receive little or no encryption protection for their communications and the app is completely exposed to censorship and surveillance by the Chinese regime.

Mod: Nice. What follows below is some bonus coverage.

How WeChat came to rule China (The Verge link): China’s most popular messaging app, WeChat, has always had a close relationship with the Chinese government. The app has been subsidized by the government since its creation in 2011, and it’s an accepted reality that officials censor and monitor users. Now, WeChat is poised to take on an even greater role: an initiative is underway to integrate WeChat with China’s electronic ID system.

(Later.) Now WeChat is poised to become China’s electronic ID system, state-run Xinhua reported in December. WeChat will issue virtual ID cards, which individuals would use in lieu of physical state-issued ID cards. Since WeChat requires users to register with their real names per government policy, it’s not a stretch to imagine that one day, WeChat may fully replace state IDs. Harvard Business School professor of management Willy Shih, who co-authored a case study on WeChat, calls the transition to an electronic ID system a “predictable evolution.”

The pilot program began at the end of December, and it expanded across the country in January. The program was developed by the research institute of the Ministry of Public Security and Tencent’s WeChat team and is backed by banks and other government departments, including the China Construction Bank and the Guangzhou police station’s Nansha District branch.

Mod: You can read the rest at the link.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

55 comments:

  1. Wow, notice the Tay post “I think the owners are white people”. Imagine if some white person posted “I think the owners are Asian”. They be crucified as racists. This Tay is a fool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The apparent assumption in that WeChat conversation is that white people are stupid.

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    2. Maybe they were thinking about Bob and Roger.

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    3. Asians don’t crucify people. That’s a Roman thing.

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    4. Sho Tay had a great opportunity to be a leader in this community. He could have chosen to bring people together, to do positive and inclusive things. He instead chose to take a much darker path. He is a failure.

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    5. 7:42 - a single bullet to the back of the head is the preferred practice there. Done in an dark basement where none will ever know.

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    6. Tay says one thing and does another. Difficult to trust anyone like that.

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    7. 7:43, your post sounds like perfect Tay tombstone inscription.

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  2. With today's technology, it would be easy for the company which is controlled by the Chinese government to activate your camera and microphone on your cellular phone for seeing and listening in. If you do associate with important political people or higher ranking army personnel, You might be unintentionally put them in danger. If WeChat user went to a ceremonial activity, the user could be near by an important figure, Chinese government might be listening at the other side of ocean. The US homeland security agency should look into WeChat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Russians used Facebook and Twitter to help elect Trump.

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    2. 6:19 But Russians is not seeing and listening in nor does Russians monitoring your conversation, contact names, and shopping activities. By the way, China has a super computer that put all these WeChat monitoring data into it. If you are one of the person on the Chinese government list, the super computer will notify the airport secret agent, you would be taken away and into a private room as soon as you landed. If the government would monitoring you instead, you will be following by every camera in every corner of the streets. The super computer recognized your face and fallow you around. The first picture that it taken from your cellular phone when you still in the US already arrived before you even landed in China.

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    3. That is frightening!

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    4. I think I’m missing a kidney

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    5. Come on, people... Let's have some perspective here: Aren't we already being monitored by our own government (NSA, IRS, utilities) and giant tech enterprises (Google, Facebook, Amazon) and by your neighbor next door... Remember to register for your mandated national driver ID card by 2020...

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  3. I think we should remove electronic devices from the entire world and go back to communicating using only voices, writing, sign language and smoke signals.

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    Replies
    1. Watch out for Benedict Arnold!

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    2. You can mail in your next anonymous post

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    3. He's in the White House ... or more likely at a golf course.

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    4. 7:43 - you could send a smoke signal. I am pretty sure what kind of smoke that is.

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  4. "It has long been noted that WeChat is among the most heavily censored messaging apps."

    Obviously they have adopted that philosophy at Arcadia's Best.

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  5. WeChat, China’s top messaging app, no longer tells users when it censors their messages
    https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/02/wechat-censorship-citizen-labs/

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  6. 6:24 watching the BBC about how China monitoring you, it can make your eyes wide open!
    http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-china-42248056/in-your-face-china-s-all-seeing-state

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  7. Don’t think the US isn’t doing the same

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    Replies
    1. That makes it OK?

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    2. Thank you for the morning Whataboutism, Comrade.

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    3. no, it makes the US just as bad
      shouldn't be pointing fingers at china
      should fix US

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  8. This information gathering has been happening for years, nothing new here.
    The Chinese government pays it's citizens living in the U.S. for all information about what Americans think and their personal habits.

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    Replies
    1. And the US swaps intel with the UK on each other’s citizenry

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  9. 7:43am. You say the same thing about President Donald J Trump; you need some new material.

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    Replies
    1. My missing kidney?

      Just respond to that post directly dude

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  10. Looks like the Communist from the mainland have landed and the invasion has started to be the second communist country has started, 2018 Comrade.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. they are communists in name only

      cold war is over

      no one won

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  11. "Federal Law is the Supreme Law of the Land". AG Jeff Sessions announcing that California is now being sued by the Federal government over it's stance on Santuary status.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How many of these kinds of lawsuits has Trump won? Like maybe zero?

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    2. And to think Mood Swing Donald was going to fire Sessions last week.

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  12. 8:24am. Whaaat? Are you alking about Sierra Madre Pod people? What invasion?

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    Replies
    1. Keep a close eye on your garden.

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    2. And your allotment of 6

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  13. Have anyone realized that US allowed people use WeChat but in China, no one can use Facebook? Think about it!

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    Replies
    1. Interesting. I know I'm not allowed to use Arcadia's Best.

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  14. 8:54am. Still should, if special counsel is not appointed on investigation into FISA and just who gave the go ahead to spy.

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    Replies
    1. A spy. You mean like the president?

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  15. 9:30am. Yes, basement dweller; #44!

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  16. Another F’ed up day in troll town:

    Russian spy poisoned by nerve agent just before new bombshell report on Steele dossier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time to change the tinfoil hat....

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    2. Wish Mueller just get it over with and arrest Trump.

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    3. Good thing Obama didn't close Guantanamo. Trump looks good in orange.

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  17. Thank you for some other informative blog. The place else could I am
    getting that kind of info written in such an ideal means?

    I have a mission that I'm simply now working on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Did anyone happen to catch the Arcadia CC meeting last night. It was great entertainment. Do the misinformed and confused souls that Tay convinces to come out and embarrass themselves, do they think “I made a real ass of myself on camera” as their driving home ?
    The one fool trying to rip Beck was so lost, oh boy.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Just like the last disgraced Arcadia CC member had no choice but to resign, so will Tay. When you go thru life pulling fast ones, it eventually gets you busted. Need some good investigative work from Mr Arvizu to bring this clown show to an end.

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  20. I be welcome for the returning of David. The best detector in town.

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  21. White people. Nice, Sho. Great.

    ReplyDelete

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