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posted by martyb on Wednesday July 03 2019, @02:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the electronic-palandir dept.

China Snares Tourists' Phones in Surveillance Dragnet by Adding Secret App

China has turned its western region of Xinjiang into a police state with few modern parallels, employing a combination of high-tech surveillance and enormous manpower to monitor and subdue the area's predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities. Now, the digital dragnet is expanding beyond Xinjiang's residents, ensnaring tourists, traders and other visitors — and digging deep into their smartphones.

A team of journalists from The New York Times and other publications examined a policing app used in the region, getting a rare look inside the intrusive technologies that China is deploying in the name of quelling Islamic radicalism and strengthening Communist Party rule in its Far West. The use of the app has not been previously reported.

China's border authorities routinely install the app on smartphones belonging to travelers who enter Xinjiang by land from Central Asia, according to several people interviewed by the journalists who crossed the border recently and requested anonymity to avoid government retaliation. Chinese officials also installed the app on the phone of one of the journalists during a recent border crossing. Visitors were required to turn over their devices to be allowed into Xinjiang. The app gathers personal data from phones, including text messages and contacts. It also checks whether devices are carrying pictures, videos, documents and audio files that match any of more than 73,000 items included on a list stored within the app's code.

Those items include Islamic State publications, recordings of jihadi anthems and images of executions. But they also include material without any connection to Islamic terrorism, an indication of China’s heavy-handed approach to stopping extremist violence. There are scanned pages from an Arabic dictionary, recorded recitations of Quran verses, a photo of the Dalai Lama and even a song by a Japanese band of the earsplitting heavy-metal style known as grindcore.

“The Chinese government, both in law and practice, often conflates peaceful religious activities with terrorism,” Maya Wang, a China researcher for Human Rights Watch, said. “You can see in Xinjiang, privacy is a gateway right: Once you lose your right to privacy, you’re going to be afraid of practicing your religion, speaking what’s on your mind or even thinking your thoughts.”

Xinjiang.

Also at The Guardian and The Hill.

Related: China Bans Islam-Related Names in Xinjiang
Massive DNA Collection Campaign in Xinjiang, China
China Forces its Muslim Minority to Install Spyware on Their Phones
Massive DNA Collection Campaign Continues in Xinjiang, China


Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by fustakrakich on Wednesday July 03 2019, @02:36AM (8 children)

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday July 03 2019, @02:36AM (#862592) Journal

    I'm sure all the usual rules apply when crossing international borders.

    Leave your good shit at home...

    As for the editorializing, please, stop...

    --
    La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @03:52AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @03:52AM (#862601)

      There's a Weedle crawling into the deepest reaches of your ass, as well-dressed government agents sit in a high-class boardroom observing the footage of it doing so. REH REH REH

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @05:15AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @05:15AM (#862609)

      Jeez.. the article sounds like the Chinese are after the muslims - lets be clear they don't discriminate when going against anyone undermining the Communist party power. There are similar examples against practitioners of other religions where the party have oppressed and is continuing to oppress. The folks at NY times smells like a bigot...

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Wednesday July 03 2019, @11:44AM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 03 2019, @11:44AM (#862660) Journal

        The folks at NY times smells like a bigot...

        Why? Because the NYT mentioned oppression of a group you don't like?

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 04 2019, @12:52AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 04 2019, @12:52AM (#862994)

          No because they made it sound like they're oppressing muslims for being muslims. They aren't they oppress anyone that they see as a threat to their power base - regardless if they're muslims. Mentioning the fact that there's muslim minority there is utterly pointless and have absolutely nothing to do with the Communist party's behavior.

          All it does is contribute further to the divide the muslim world to everyone else - as in some disgruntled muslim will see it as an attack on their religion which it isn't.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday July 04 2019, @05:02AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 04 2019, @05:02AM (#863038) Journal

            No because they made it sound like they're oppressing muslims for being muslims.

            Is that not accurate here?

            They aren't they oppress anyone that they see as a threat to their power base

            Even if true, it's still not mutually exclusive with the alleged viewpoint of the NYT.

            Mentioning the fact that there's muslim minority there is utterly pointless and have absolutely nothing to do with the Communist party's behavior.

            Except of course, the Communist Party wouldn't be oppressing them otherwise, right? Because then, they wouldn't have this characteristic which the Party considers a threat to their power base.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @06:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @06:32AM (#862617)

      As for the editorializing, please, stop...

      What editorializing? The Wikipedia link?!

    • (Score: 2, Touché) by khallow on Wednesday July 03 2019, @12:16PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 03 2019, @12:16PM (#862670) Journal

      As for the editorializing, please, stop...

      What editorializing? SN nor Takyon did it. And they didn't quote such from the NYT piece.

    • (Score: 2) by Rupert Pupnick on Wednesday July 03 2019, @12:44PM

      by Rupert Pupnick (7277) on Wednesday July 03 2019, @12:44PM (#862681) Journal

      Not sure why you’re so dismissive. Even if your opposition has no effect on Chinese surveillance policy, it’s more likely to come to neighborhood near you in the future if you don’t oppose it now.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @03:18AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @03:18AM (#862596)

    What if I brought a little pocket camera (and no smart phone)? Would they let me in?

    • (Score: 2) by arslan on Wednesday July 03 2019, @05:17AM

      by arslan (3462) on Wednesday July 03 2019, @05:17AM (#862610)

      Of course they would, after some prior arrangement with some wait time on your behalf. A couple comrades will probably flank either side of you - now the question is rather, would you go in?

  • (Score: -1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @03:50AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @03:50AM (#862600)

    Everything they publish is completely false!

    Our good friends in China are just trying to keep their people safe.

    This is just one more example of those enemies of the people lying about everything.

    There is no app. China knows they need borders. The liars at NYT want all the folks from those Mexican countries to come in and take our jobs and hard-earned tax dollars, so we don't have the resources to stop the invading Muslim hordes from taking over and implementing Sharia across our great country.

    They hate America and want to bring it down because they're secretly Muslims!

    We should be *more* like China and not allow these liars and hateful "journalists" to spew their lies and deception.

    We need a social credit system and an even greater Firewall. We're the greatest nation that ever existed, so we can out-China China easily. Let's do it!

    #MAGA

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @05:47AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @05:47AM (#862612)

      >when the troll tell less lies than the media...

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @04:52AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @04:52AM (#862607)

    I saw this article but didn't know too much about the relationship between the Chinese and the Uyghurs. I found a docu on Youtube that was extremely well put together, I highly recommend it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ3fG-tnzCk [youtube.com]

    Wondering if anyone has an alternative take compared to the docu's narrative.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @06:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @06:55PM (#862849)

      If i were running china I would just banish all Muslims. Who cares whose land it used to be. You lose, now get out before we use you for military practice.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday July 03 2019, @07:26AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 03 2019, @07:26AM (#862623) Journal

    Stasi could probably teach a few lessons. Those people would have been hell on wheels, if they had access to today's tech.

  • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Wednesday July 03 2019, @11:03PM (2 children)

    by EvilJim (2501) on Wednesday July 03 2019, @11:03PM (#862944) Journal

    if my phone doesn't have enough storage to update currently installed apps, what would China do?

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @11:06PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @11:06PM (#862946)

      Put you in jail and take away your reading glasses.

      • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Thursday July 04 2019, @03:33AM

        by EvilJim (2501) on Thursday July 04 2019, @03:33AM (#863023) Journal

        woah, their social credit system is a harsh mistress.

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