Thursday, March 1, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The Rise of China As a Digital Totalitarian State

Xiao Qiang:

Zhou’s story is the latest example of how much stricter state control has become across the Chinese Internet, especially social media platforms. In China, censorship and propaganda go hand in hand, backed by the use of physical force, including police visits, arrests and attacks by state media on people who have expressed controversial political opinions online.

Ever since he came to power in 2012, President Xi Jinping has attempted to bolster the authority of the Communist Party in part by imposing wide-ranging policies to gain ideological and informational control over the media and Internet. In 2017, the country’s first cybersecurity law came into effect; it requires Internet companies to allow even more surveillance of their networks, submit to mandated security reviews of their equipment and provide data to government investigators when requested, among other regulations.

The University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab has identified various surveillance mechanisms used to monitor social media platforms such as WeChat, which can leave people with the sense that they have a surveillance weapon in their pockets. What’s more, these mechanisms remain in effect when individuals leave the country, as do large number of Chinese students who study abroad.

Previously: iCloud in China and on Google’s Cloud.

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