back to article China crams spyware on phones in Muslim-majority province

The Chinese government is requiring citizens in Xinjiang province to install spyware on their mobile phones and is enforcing the policy with police spot-checks, according to several online reports. Reflecting a country-wide clampdown on internet usage, users of WeChat in the regional capital of Urumqi received a message on …

  1. Tomato42
    Stop

    Don't report such things! It gives May and Tories ideas!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Your alien overlord - fear me
        Trollface

        Re: Spyware and Intelligence Gathering.....

        Who needs Indian Pale Ale? Lots of people!!!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Spyware and Intelligence Gathering.....

        What makes you think it was the voice of the 'Yoof'. There are plenty of people of all ages who are confused by the glamuor of TV.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Spyware and Intelligence Gathering.....

        > We have "Love Island"

        Prole entertainment straight from the Eric Blair textbook.

        1. JLV

          Re: Spyware and Intelligence Gathering.....

          >Prole entertainment straight from the Eric Blair textbook.

          Hush now, be nice.

          Couple of decades yet before we're ready for "Ow! My Balls!” Or am I too optimistic?

          re. China. This is interesting. When you see what our up and coming world superpower is up to with its own citizens. Add in the Spratley Islands and the lack of real popular legitimacy of its government system which doesn't even really believe in Communism anymore, just power. Mix in a dollop of well-justified mistrust of Western powers and sense of past persecutions. Play the foreign and domestic enemies card.

          Hope they do sort themselves out into a more mature political system by 2040s or so. This is scary, the USSR was much nastier but had limited economic potential.

      4. Suricou Raven

        Re: Spyware and Intelligence Gathering.....

        And what do you propose we do? Here are some options:

        1. Send a strongly-worded letter via the UN for China to ignore.

        2. Impose economic sanctions on the world's second-largest economy, upon which we are heavily dependent for both raw materials and manufacturer goods.

        3. Attempt military intervention and initiate global nuclear war.

        None of these sound like a very good option.

        1. John Savard

          Re: Spyware and Intelligence Gathering.....

          How about a symbolic economic sanction, where we ban all imports of smartphones and feature phones, all mobile phones, from China? This would mean that they would be manufactured in Malaysia and/or Indonesia instead, giving the economies of those countries a lift.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Don't report such things! It gives May and Tories ideas!

      Do not worry, they will ignore it.

      This is the Chinese effectively acknowledging complete and unconditional surrender in the fight against end-to-end encryption. They have surrendered and are dealing with it the only technically feasible way - by installing endpoint control software.

      May is more likely to eat a toad with slug sauce than acknowledge that there is no such thing as a viable encryption backdoor for government use only. So do not worry, she is not going to get the idea out of this one.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ideas that came from Labour / Bliar you mean?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Don't report such things! It gives May and Tories ideas!"

      Not to mention Corbyn and Labour too. If you think political party makes a difference here you're naive.

    5. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Don't report such things! It gives May and Tories ideas!

      Don't report such things! It gives George Brandis and Australian Liberal Party ideas!

  2. Uffish

    Doubleplus Big Sister will soon be watching you

    Too late, "It automatically recognizes illegal files and reports the user - oh joy! Does GCHQ know about this? Tell them to deploy it immediately".

    We are all doomed.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Doubleplus Big Sister will soon be watching you

      I think that in the UK this is called "WinX" or "iPhone" under a program for operating systems that uploads every one of your files to the cloud where they can be accessed by our friends at GCHQ, along with plentiful metadata, such as recording every word you type on your keyboard with WinX unless you opt out.

      Opting out probably puts you on a special category for extra monitoring as you've got something to hide.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty colors

    Remember when everyone was worried about whether their widgets were produced 'green'? All along they should have been worried whether they were blood-stained.

    All the pretty colors. Where do they all come from?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pretty colors

      Which 'color' is it today

      Revolution Color?

      Tough to be in an externally funded war-zone, tho' strangely the book only talks about non-violence,

      http://www.aeinstein.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/FDTD.pdf [102 pages pdf] [clean]

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Because: Security

    Safety and security requires total domination of electronic communication by the government, they say.

    In my view, the situation described here is similar to movement to, for example, create backdoors in electronics to defeat encryption in other places.

    I would say there is no way to stop it. Submission will make us safe.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Because: Security

      Safe from what though?

      Ploughing a truck through a crowd doesn't really need internet communications does it? Just a chat in the street would be enough.

      Like the restrictions on the sale of knives to minors and a ban on certain types of knife hasn't stopped people being stabbed.

      We should ban bus stops, walking in the street, build super steel barriers between the road and pavement, discourage people from leaving their houses and watch and listen to every action of the population, then we'll all be safe.

      No life or existence but safe.

      In the '70s we had the Red Brigade, Bader Meinhoff and the IRA amongst others, I worked at the Daily Express for a while, the alarm used to go off at least a couple of times a week, sometimes for serious threats. We regarded it as a good time to go to the Wig and Pen in Fleet Street for a coffee or a pint, then back to work. I have been in several places where there were bomb threats and was a few minutes ahead of the Old Bailey bomb a couple of years earlier.

      Was also one of the 1 in 4 squaddies given real bullets while on exercise in Northern Germany because a white 3 litre BMW with some Red Brigade types had been seen.

      Clearly I survived all of that without the PTB eavesdropping on my every word and action, if they had the ability then to do it , it wouldn't have changed a thing because the bad boys would have just found alternatives to communicate with just as they will now.

      If this is security theatre I won't be reserving a seat.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Because: Security

        "Ploughing a truck through a crowd doesn't really need internet communications does it?"

        No. Vanishing all those who have been talked to by the assailant, and other key individuals that were suspiciously in the same area as the offender, DOES.

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Because: Security

          My point AC, is that ploughing a truck through a crowd of pedestrians needs no organising or chat at all. How difficult would it be for a lone loony to bob a delivery truck driver, steal his truck and go to get his 73 virgins?

          Lone actors or small groups of people actually TALKING to each other without a tech medium ( I know this is thinking outside the box for some people) in the privacy of their own home/garden/cafe etc, can plan anything without the authorities knowing a thing, so, no disappearing people there then.

          Besides it doesn't need a truck in particular, a small car at speed is a lethal enough weapon, ask anyone still alive who has been hit by one.

          You can have all of my liberty after I have been hit by a truck, until then Feck Off!

      3. 's water music
        Pint

        Re: Because: Security

        @Chris G In the '70s... ...I worked at the Daily Express... ...the alarm used to go off at least a couple of times a week, ... We regarded it as a good time to go to the Wig and Pen in Fleet Street for a coffee or a pint, then back to work.

        in 70s Fleet Street? Pant's on fire much?

  5. Your alien overlord - fear me
    Facepalm

    Did the Chinese decide on Wang meaning internet due all the porn on it?

  6. razorfishsl

    just buy facebook

  7. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Gives new meaning to the term Draconian.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      In China, "draconian" means burning down cities to shut up revolting citizens of dubious ethnicity.

      But I'm not gonna get worked up about enforced surveillance of the Muslim Far West of the PRC. Actually, I let the NGOs take care of that.

      1. Paper

        Dubious ethnicity? It shouldn't even be a part of China, they're like a whole other race of people.

        1. Suricou Raven

          I would prefer not to divide nations up based on ethnicity. It is not a good road to go down.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One suspects that the Chinese government has taken a look at what's going on in the Persian Gulf, and has taken what they see as proportionate measures, to stop the same thing happening there.

      Cleary there are better ways of achieving regional settled living than this. One sincerely hopes that such measures never become unavoidable elsewhere.

      Just for the sake of historical interest, one wonders what Oswald Mosley and his Black Shirts would have done with smartphones, social media, and the opportunities offered by Google and Facebook's borked auto news aggregators. All in all I think it's a very good thing that these things didn't exist back then. At the time opinions were divided, and a strong social media campaign might have made a difference.

      Couldn't happen here? Well, it kinda has happened in the USA.

      If we were to want to keep things rational, we need to keep a high level of cynicism, something a lot of people don't seem to learn these days. A bit like all those gullible students who voted Labour at the last election, sometimes twice, because of an undeliverable promise.

  8. The Nazz

    Oh dear ....

    Wonder what the reaction of KPFA Radio of Berkleley, California is gonna be, cut Chow Mein from the restaurant menu?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40710165

  9. Paper

    Waste of time

    Let's be honest, we can say almost whatever we like about our government here in the west.

    And it still doesn't make a difference...

    The Chinese government is wasting its time. Mao won, the people are subdued. Keep them happy and they won't question.

  10. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Big Brother

    the Chinese government has repurposed it to act as a mass surveillance tool

    why is anyone surprised by this?

    and under the threat of JAIL for NOT installing it! Even MORE "not a surprise" !!!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So someone should make a fake app

    One with the same name, that looks from a casual police perusal to be the real app, but doesn't actually send your data to home base.

    For bonus points, create malware that replaces the real app with the fake one, so people have plausible deniability if caught with the fake one that they deliberately installed!

  12. John Savard

    Obvious Comment

    Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. This, therefore, is a violation of that portion of the Eternal Law of God as embodied in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America among other places in the laws of other civilized and democratic nations.

    It's a pity China has nuclear weapons, as it is clearly overdue for regime change.

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: Obvious Comment

      I see it as a repressive government verses a ridiculous superstition. I can't really cheer for either side here.

    2. Scroticus Canis
      Unhappy

      Re: Obvious Comment - "China ... is clearly overdue for regime change.

      Well the last one worked well didn't it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obvious Comment

      The West has never tried regime change in any country possessing nuclear weapons, for obvious reasons. So China doesn't have much to worry about on that score.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obvious Comment

        Actually that's not quite true, depending on when South Africa got nuclear weapons. But that was purely economic pressure.

  13. GrumpyOldBloke

    In other news

    Cockney Rhyming Slang instructors soon to be in big demand in the middle Kingdom.

  14. Gordon Pryra

    El Reg playing a dangerous game here

    After all, the conclusion to Brexit means china will be one of our main trading partners.

    Which means rather than being the 51st State we will probably just be classed as a Province.

    Be ready for the knock at the door if you ever come to the UK Kierian

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Xianjiang Province

    A couple of years ago I was travelling to Kashgar overland and the Chinese Visa people said it is harder to get a visa for Xinjiang than Tibet. Once there to say there was a feeling of repression was the understatement of the century.

    Anonymous in case I want to go back!

    1. Captain Hogwash
      WTF?

      Re: to say there was a feeling of repression was the understatement of the century

      Why would you want to go back?

  16. td0s
    Joke

    I thought this was all bad news

    then I read the end of the article and saw they are banning beiber so - swings and roundabouts

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pay attention...

    Most of this has been happening to mobile users in blighty for the last 25 years. Its just done in a slightly more covert and creepier way.

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