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China Cracks Down On Mobile Messaging

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the watch-what-you-say dept.

Censorship 58

itwbennett writes China is tightening control over mobile messaging services with new rules that limit their role in spreading news. Under the new regulations, only news agencies and other groups with official approval can publish whatever the government considers political news via public accounts. "All other public accounts that have not been approved cannot release or reprint political news," the regulations said. Users of the instant messaging services will also have to register with their official IDs, and agree to follow relevant laws.

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I wonder... (1)

thieh (3654731) | about 4 months ago | (#47627007)

...why they have not banned text service altogether by now. Or phones because people can do conference calls. C'mon, If they really monitor everything, it's easy to root those guys out instead of having the need to restrict it. Slap the "conspiracy to topple the government" and voila! People will stop doing it very soon.

It's to prevent infection (2)

penguinoid (724646) | about 4 months ago | (#47627555)

Sure, it would be easy to root out the dissenters... but that costs you a productive citizen each time you do it. If you can prevent them from becoming dissenters in the first place, you come up way ahead.

Re:It's to prevent infection (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47629513)

Sure, it would be easy to root out the dissenters... but that costs you a productive citizen each time you do it.

That's what's so brilliant about state-operated labor camps. You turn productive citizens into productive prisoners. That's so much more efficient than the way we do it here in the USA, where we turn them into hardened criminals and excuses to extract tax money from the citizenry and hand it to the already wealthy.

Re:It's to prevent infection (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 months ago | (#47637051)

I was under the impression that US prisons do employ prison labour.

Re:I wonder... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 4 months ago | (#47627789)

The more you tighten your grip, China, the more citizens will slip through your fingers... or something like that.

The fact that this is even news, and getting out, is a sign that the times, they are a changin... at least in China. Russia, seems to be going backward however. And the mid-east? Pffft. that never changes one way or the other.

Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627813)

someday, china will save the west from russia and islam, if only as a side-effect of defending themselves.

Re:Irony (2)

cavreader (1903280) | about 4 months ago | (#47627851)

They need to defeat their own extremists in Xinjiang before going around helping others. They had an attack a couple weeks ago were 100 people were killed. The fact the government is willing to acknowledge 100 deaths only means the total was most likely closer to 1000.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47628323)

The more you tighten your grip, China, the more citizens will slip through your fingers...

The citizenry just keeps moving on, or moving along, for those are not the 'droids China is looking for.

Be glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627023)

Be very very glad that you were not born in China.

*shudder*

Re:Be glad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627083)

It's astounding to me that people tolerate this. As the Chinese people become wealthier and more educated, at some point there will be a forced regime change.

Re:Be glad (3, Insightful)

thieh (3654731) | about 4 months ago | (#47627111)

Peiople tolerate this when they are not otherwise suffering Materially. Arab Spring didn't get triggered when the general population is well fed, they triggered when people have problems living on at the conditions at the time (because they are broke?)

Re:Be glad (0, Flamebait)

fnj (64210) | about 4 months ago | (#47627235)

What you call Arab Spring got triggered by hate-filled religious fervor and a thirst to enforce religious orthodoxy and punish the bejesus out of everyone less than 100% religiously orthodox, plain and simple.

Re:Be glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627255)

You're right, never let reality get in the way of your stupidity.

Re:Be glad (1)

gtall (79522) | about 4 months ago | (#47629563)

Not really. It was triggered by young people being able to look abroad via the interwebs and see how people in other countries lived. So they too wanted to live in a place where their political voices could be heard. The problem was that they ignored the snake in grass ready to pounce if the central governments were weakened. Political Islam hijacked the soft revolutions; they saw it as their chance to finally exert a Nazi like control over the rest of the pop. and make them enjoy the pure hell on earth that an unchecked religion can deliver.

The factors behind political Islam were originally religious in nature, however politicized Islam is mainly run by young men. The main reason for them to support political Islam is that if women in Islamic countries are freed from their slavery, they will be free to make their own marriage decisions. This scares the hell out of the young men because they figure they'll be on the losing end of that deal...and probably rightly so. The women won't be interested in subjugating themselves or their (new) careers to their husbands, they won't be interested in being part of the husband's brothel of kept women, and they'll be wanting a say in all decisions.

The headgear worn by Islamic women has nothing to do with religion; it 'tis but a mark of their enslavement and yet one more method to keep them in line.

Re:Be glad (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 months ago | (#47630241)

The problem isn't the Terrorists. It i the people who do not want to look like terrorists when they are fighting terrorists. And there in lies the problem. To combat evil, you must also take on the appearances of evil. To stop people from killing you, you must sometimes kill them. And the stupid people of the world cannot tell the difference between good people acting on self preservation from evil people acting on their own view of self preservation.

So, the issue is with good people who just want to be left alone, they must be pushed to the point violating their own normal sensibilities. And it is usually too late when that happens.

Specifically on your comments, you are pointing to the symptoms, not the problems. The only way to defeat Radical Islam, is for "peaceful" Islam to defeat it, radically (violently). At which point, it looks exactly like what it is trying to defeat. If every time a radical cries out in a Mosque "Kill the Infidels" the congregation took up stones and stoned them to death, you'd see the end of Radical Islam in very short order. Silence is consent.

Re:Be glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627261)

You forgot the foreign intervention.

Re:Be glad (0)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 4 months ago | (#47627263)

Peiople tolerate this when they are not otherwise suffering Materially. Arab Spring didn't get triggered when the general population is well fed, they triggered when people have problems living on at the conditions at the time (because they are broke?)

Oh, I don't know if that's universally true. Consider the American revolution. The US colonies were, by all accounts, reasonably well off under British rule, and many who agitated for revolution arguably had the most to lose, being the most prominent and wealthy of the citizens.

Granted, you could argue that desperately poor people tend to have little to lose, and perhaps are more likely to revolt. But it's also true that unrest is often fomented by the more idealistic tendencies of the well-educated. That would explain Mao's cultural revolution, wherein they eradicated many of their own most educated citizens in an attempt to purge the "bourgeoisie" of their society.

More than likely, the majority of people simply don't really see a way to change the system, and simply duck their heads down and try to get through life as best they can. And so, the oppression continue, with old men clinging to their power over the masses, trying to crush resistance wherever it emerges, often via technologies that they don't understand in the slightest. So, they fall back to their old patterns - ban, censor, and punish. No big surprises here.

Also, I found this quote in the article particularly entertaining, in a sad sort of way:

Following Thursday's announcement, Tencent, the Chinese Internet giant behind WeChat, said it supported the new regulations.

"We have conducted extensive research, and found that the regulations mainly intend to stop rumors and harmful information from spreading on the Internet," the company said in an online posting.

So, the company who's product and services are being censored fully support the government's decisions? What a shocker.

Re:Be glad (5, Insightful)

hjf (703092) | about 4 months ago | (#47628145)

As an Argentinian (if you know our recent history): No, people tolerate everything. People don't "uprise" spontaneously. People don't go out and protest.

They don't.

I've learned that ALL protests are organized by someone with a political motivation. Nothing more.

We're in a situation worse than what we were in 2001. And people just carry on with their lives every day. Humans are tame criatures, they will take absolutely everything and accept it. Look at the life in the Middle East for example. Iran, once a westernized, modern country, taken back to the middle ages by the muslims. And people didn't protest.
The Khmer Rouge killing everything and everyone. People didn't protest.
You'll see people oppressed all over the world. In third world nations, and in the US too. And guess what? People don't do anything. The ones in power take it all.

Re:Be glad (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#47628973)

Governments have become very good at making sure people don't rise up, and if they do protest that the protests are ignored and ineffective. It's very dangerous because now the only way to effect any kind of political change is via the mass media or via violence. In countries where the mass media is heavily controlled, that just leaves violence.

It's the same everywhere. In the UK 2 million people protested against the invasion of Iraq, and they went ahead anyway. Literally the only thing that would have stopped them was a violence overthrowing of the government. Fortunately for them the lives of some brown people in a far away land where not valuable enough to trigger that.

Re:Be glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47629197)

"Iran, once a westernized, modern country, taken back to the middle ages by the muslims." And people didn't protest.

Iran, Persia at the time, was a puppet of the British Empire, people DID protest against the British taking all their oil and paying almost nothing. The money it received was funneled to a few families that became MEGA RICH while the general people starved.

When the WWII ended, the US was intact while Europe-Asia were devastated, so they used money in order to support protesters in Iran(like they have done with more than 5billion dollars with Maidan movement), break the British-Persia relationship and get the oil themselves. Something similar to what they want to do today in Ukraine with Europe-Russia(but Europe is not Iran).

The fact is that THEY SUCCEEDED. The same people they supported later took the power of the country, only that they behaved different than expected. The Shah and his family could be controlled by money. The new religious zealots couldn't care less. The general population in Persia was after all Muslim, and they wanted to have a Muslim country, not a western one, only the family of the Shah who studied and had houses all around Europe did.

"The Khmer Rouge killing everything and everyone. People didn't protest"

This is blatantly false. They did not "protest" as going out in the street making sound with pans. They fought a war, they actually killed and were killed. My father was one of those fighting so I know. He had his hand severed but survived and emigrated to a western country. There are lots of complex reasons the Khmer won, but they stayed in power very small amount of time.

Re:Be glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47629281)

PS: By the way, the Khmer Rouge were exactly those that protested the most against Colonialism oppressors, like the people in Persia.

Re:Be glad (2)

wooppp (921578) | about 4 months ago | (#47627283)

No. Not all people can tolerate this. It's just that those who can't tolerate are jailed...

Re:Be glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47628161)

Wealthy Chinese most likely have ties with the government since the majority of the economy is state owned enterprises

Re:Be glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47629443)

Singapore is the future Chinese government is hoping for. Singapore is in practice a one party dictatorship. The Singaporean people have high education, high income, and they do speak about their lack of freedom between them self. Close to no one do anything about it. The few people who do challenge the ruling party if Singapore has a tendency to go bankruptcy, kicked out of the country, or move abroad to get their life back.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Singapore - "The government in Singapore has broad powers to limit citizens' rights and to inhibit political opposition.[1] In 2014, Singapore was ranked 150th out of 175 nations by Reporters Without Borders in the Worldwide Press Freedom Index. Freedom in the World 2014 ranked Singapore 4 out of 7 for political freedom, and 4 out of 7 for civil liberties (where 1 is the most free), with an overall ranking of "partly free"."

Meanwhile, in china (1)

sadness203 (1539377) | about 4 months ago | (#47627039)

We've always been at war with Eastasia"

Funny (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627063)

As an employee of a large multinational electronics manufacturer, it doesn't look like they're doing anything to crack down on conterfeit parts.

Re: Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47628263)

They don't care about parts because you MUST use your national ID to get a wifi/cellular account AT ALL. Counterfeit arts make repairs for "agreeable folk" cheaper.

China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627071)

Effectively trying to kill social media.

They need Facebook Messenger .. (2)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 4 months ago | (#47627079)

... because everyone on Facebook has to use their real name and stuff.

Re:They need Facebook Messenger .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627749)

Real name won't help. They'll have millions of people named Huang Lee.

Alternative messaging (1)

paulkingnz (830129) | about 4 months ago | (#47627091)

It's OK they have Chinese Whispers :)

China being a testing ground (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627189)

all this, soon, in a fear-controlled state near you.

This won't last (2, Funny)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47627229)

The supreme court is bound to overturn it as a flagrant violation of the 1st amendment.

Re:This won't last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627277)

Not if Obama has his way.

Re:This won't last (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 4 months ago | (#47628003)

Article 35 of the 1982 State Constitution proclaims that "citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession, and of demonstration."[1] In the 1978 constitution, these rights were guaranteed, but so were the right to strike and the "four big rights," often called the "four bigs": to speak out freely, air views fully, hold great debates, and write big-character posters. In February 1980, following the Democracy Wall period, the four bigs were abolished in response to a party decision ratified by the National People's Congress. The right to strike was also dropped from the 1982 Constitution. The widespread expression of the four big rights during the student protests of late 1986 elicited the regime's strong censure because of their illegality. The official response cited Article 53 of the 1982 Constitution, which states that citizens must abide by the law and observe labor discipline and public order. Besides being illegal, practicing the four big rights offered the possibility of straying into criticism of the Communist Party of China, which was in fact what appeared in student wall posters. In a new era that strove for political stability and economic development, party leaders considered the four big rights politically destabilizing. Chinese citizens are prohibited from forming new political parties.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Re:This won't last (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47637527)

It was a joke. I was implying that since the US jurisdiction now applies everywhere; for example, claims a right to enforce its own laws on citizens even related to behavior or activities occuring outside the US, the US federal courts have held that search warrants can be issued to seize data overseas, the government attempts to collect income tax on US-based companies worldwide revenue, and foreigners who never set foot in the US have been extradited due to violations of US law.

That the constitutional rights of the US must apply everywhere too, if the US jurisdiction is universal, then the US courts should strike down international laws and override foreign countries' law enforcement decisions which are contrary to any rights protected under the US constitution :)

where we went wrong with the internet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627323)

It has been clear for a long time that governments want to use the internet for mass scale surveillance(usa, lesser extent many others), control(china, russia, middle east), and generally Orwellian things.

It is LONG past time to invent dead-simple to use programs and protocols that are end to end encrypted and take control out of the hands of governments and put it back where it belongs: with the people.

It should not be possible for the NSA to tap all communications, because it should all be strongly encrypted with only the endpoints having the keys. It should not be possible for China to control IMs, because they should look like any other random encrypted data passing over the wires.

The longer we go without making those things reality, the more Orwellian it is going to get. Power hungry people are hungry for power: news at 11.

Re:where we went wrong with the internet (2)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 4 months ago | (#47627469)

While you're at it, we should go to a mesh network. The internet was originally conceived tob e able to
withstand a nuclear attack by routing around damage and "finding" the path from point A to point B
by whatever path possible. Unfortunately we've discovered that it's faster to have internet backbones
than it is to have to have 50 hops to get to your destination. Encryption might help a little but what we
really need to do is figure out a way to have a more peer to peer system so there aren't bottlenecks
where everyone's traffic automatically has to go through and can be tracked.

Re:where we went wrong with the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627517)

I am the same AC you replied to. I agree. A lot has been lost in the move away from mesh topologies, in part because it concentrates power in a smaller number of hands and makes it easier to monitor and control traffic.

Re: where we went wrong with the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47628273)

Except the phone company automatically reports you for communications the filter cannot read.
Period.

FCC (0)

xdor (1218206) | about 4 months ago | (#47627483)

What the FCC would look like if it were run by the FAA

needed in US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627501)

This would help cut down on the stupidity that "news" outlets in the US spread to the uneducated and or uninformed population

Censorship Useful, but Risky. (2)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 4 months ago | (#47628321)

This would help cut down on the stupidity that "news" outlets in the US spread to the uneducated and or uninformed population

Yes. Freedom of Speech, as conceived in many nations, includes the freedom to speak irresponsibly. These nations may be destroyed by that freedom, which creates an ecosystem of mostly-stupid ideas that it is very, very hard for wiser minds to change. Or they may be saved by it, if nations such as China tighten their grip on information far enough that they overly limit the free flow of innovative ideas and legitimate idea-generating-and-analyzing debate.

There are people on both sides of the political spectrum who should never be allowed to publicly speak to the American public about politics again. Not because we may disagree with them, but because they are obviously wrong, and alarmist, and they are hurting America by their false contributions to the debate. So it is in many free nations.

Re:needed in US (2, Insightful)

CimmerianX (2478270) | about 4 months ago | (#47630035)

The best argument against Democracy is to have a 5 minute conversation with the average citizen.

Because because because ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47627527)

In the magical land of OZ. Messaging is used as an attack surface and vector using AI controlled by NGO agents working for google or such to create perceptions that distort political and geostrategic actions against our adversary states. Such attacks have been used against Syria, Egypt. In fact minus the AI they are used against us by the Russians an are one reason the US population has been polarized although other more serious reasons such as the money influence of the elites and business interests creating reactionary ideological shock troops. Traditionally the Soviet propaganda was aimed at the left wing but I bet if you studied the dynamic today it is being aimed increasingly at the Tea Party and similar. The fifth column is always the advance wave of any conflict development.

iMessage? (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | about 4 months ago | (#47627849)

Does iMessage run afoul of this?

If the encryption is good (and China doesn't have the pull to get access as the NSA does) then maybe Apple products DO pose a security threat .... to the government.

Re:iMessage? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 4 months ago | (#47628037)

Works just fine between the US and China as it uses SSL over port 443. They haven't blocked it yet, and the connection is stable. If they do block it, it will be based on entire net block ranges and not host names via DNS.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT... [apple.com]

Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47628393)

... rules that limit their role in spreading news.

The current Australian government is refusing to report on current activities and "operational matters" which implement policies that many people dislike.

10 years ago the Australian government brought in censorship laws under the 'war on terror', promising that they would never misuse them. (Aside: Then why pass a law that says they will?) These Chinese regulations will give them ideas: A 'D' (censorship) notice that all broadcast facilities will have to obey.

Before the Internet (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 4 months ago | (#47628407)

Before the Internet, Chinese in their villages wondered what was happening in the world. After the Internet, Chinese in their villages looked at their mobile phones and wondered what is happening in the world.

For all those who complain about the NSA (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47628587)

Take a look at what real oppression is. The NSA is still evil, wrong and violating the rights of others, but you are allowed to complain about it publicly and privately all you want. You can even openly advocate seceding from your own nation, spread groundless conspiracy theories, and call your politicians a manifestation of the anti-christ, and the government will virtually ignore you and let your kooky little 90's looking website stating all of the above remain on the web. Doing this on talk radio or on cable news can make you millions of dollars per year.

Do this in China against the Chinese government and you'll be tracked down and be executed or imprisoned.

Re:For all those who complain about the NSA (2)

temcat (873475) | about 4 months ago | (#47628801)

but you are allowed to complain about it publicly and privately all you want

National Security Letter?

Re:For all those who complain about the NSA (1)

q4Fry (1322209) | about 4 months ago | (#47631013)

Mod parent up.

"The denial of free speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47628891)

... is the first act of tyranny."

Rather like our laughable Jewish 'hate speech' laws, and the redefining of the word 'hate' to mean 'anything the Jews don't want you to hear' (like the TRUTH).

Are you sick of being told what you can and can't say? Are you sick of having to bite your tongue at work every time the latest Left wing bullshit comes down the pipe from your boss, or some asshole quisling of a colleague, who thinks they're being 'brave' for spying on everybody else in the workplace, in case we dare to step out of line and disagree with the latest Bolshevik bullshit they're forcing on us?

Sounds a lot like what Google wanted to achieve (1)

eye_blinked (2775553) | about 4 months ago | (#47629515)

I am glad Google failed and I hope any future attempts will also fail. "Users of the instant messaging services will also have to register with their official IDs, and agree to follow relevant laws." Corporations and governments want the same thing. Now why could this be?

Race to the bottom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47629617)

Are China and the US in a race to see who becomes a full dystopian regime sooner?

This all works (1)

kaatochacha (651922) | about 4 months ago | (#47632323)

As long as China continues to maintain an exponential growth in the standard of living.
People accept that tradeoff: freedom for increased prosperity.
Where it breaks down is in the eventual slowdown of exponential growth, which WILL occur.
At that point, the agreement weakens. Why maintain the line if the old promises no longer apply?
That's when things get dicey, and why the Chinese leadership is so paranoid.
Unfortunately, cracking down will, long run, just fuel the fire.

The CCP is very desperate these days. (1)

moneybabylon (2226376) | about 4 months ago | (#47654673)

The chinese communist party is on its last straw of survival, facing stress from:

1. external opposite forces from all other countries in the world.

2. internal pressure from all chinese places e.g. mainland, hong kong, taiwan, xinjiang, macau etc.

3. its own economy no more development from absence of law and moral.

4. its inner problems all surfacing e.g. debt, lack of soft power, no morals whatsoever.

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