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.
|Mayor Pro Tem WeChat selfie time?|
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.
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.
(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.