Home Government Tech Policy China forces ethnic minority to install spyware

Chinese authorities in the western province of Xinjiang have issued instructions to residents to install spyware on their mobile devices.

The rule is in place only in Xinjiang which has a large population of Uighurs who are Muslims. The existence of the order was revealed by Radio Free Asia.

Xinjiang has a history of social unrest with mass-scale riots taking place eight years ago.

The app in question, known as Jingwang, apparently searches mobile devices for files that match those on an official blacklist.

It is said to "automatically detect terrorist and illegal religious videos, images, e-books and electronic documents” that may be present on the device.

Chinese authorities are reportedly checking people at checkpoints to see if they have installed the application as they were ordered to.

According to a report in Infosecurity Magazine, a group of Kazakh women were arrested after their conversations on WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging platform, were monitored and deemed illegal.

China regularly cracks down on Internet freedoms, with one of the latest orders being a January fiat to make all VPNs not approved by the government illegal.

Xinjiang authorities have reportedly told all citizens and business owners to provide their ID cards, mobile phones, external drives, laptops, and any media storage to local police for “registration and scanning” by 1 August.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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