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China Forces Muslim Minority To Install Spyware On Their Phones (bleepingcomputer.com) 389

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: Chinese authorities in the province of Xinjiang are forcing locals of the Uyghur Muslim minority to install an app on their phones that will allow the government to scan their device for "terrorist propaganda," local media reports. In reality, the app creates MD5 hashes for the user's files and matches them against a database of known terrorist content. The app also makes copies of the user's Weibo and WeChat databases and uploads it to a government server, along with the user's IMEI, IMSI, and WiFi login information. The app is called Jingwang (Citizen Safety) and was developed by police forces from Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital. Authorities launched the app in April, and also included the ability to report suspicious activity to the police. At the start of July, Xinjiang officials started sending WeChat messages in Uyghur and Chinese to locals, asking them to install the app or face detainment of up to 10 days. Police have also stopped people on the street to check if they installed the app. Several were detained for refusing to install it. Locals are now sharing the locations of checkpoints online, so others can avoid getting arrested.
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China Forces Muslim Minority To Install Spyware On Their Phones

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  • Jihad (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Is a duty of all Muslims. It is written in the Qur'an.

    Praise be to Allah.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, in this case jihad is certainly justified. I hope resistance is not futile.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      But only certain branches [wikipedia.org] (mustly Saudi) Muslims believe that Jihad should be violent. Why do we support Saudi again? Why do we allow Saudi funding of mosques abroad?

      • Re: Jihad (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Why do we support Saudi again?"

        Because they have (had) all the oil. As a result, (now) they have all the money. What they believe is irrelevant, except as a means of control.

        And the same goes for you... what you believe is used to manufacture your consent. Therefore, you say "Why do we support Saudi again?" which is a distraction from the real questions (why oil, who makes those decisions really, how to we stop them doing this...)

      • I've argued against the Saudis before, even pretty recently. But, they're at least ideologically opposed to the Islamic State. But I've also read that one of bin Laden's goals was to drive this precise wedge between Saudi Arabia and the US, so this all becomes muddled very quickly. That, and our attempts at regime change have not been wildly successful. Most Americans know Iran as "some Muslim country that hates us," and don't seem to realize that the reason for that is that we overthrew their democraticall

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          But, they're at least ideologically opposed to the Islamic State

          Perhaps you should look into where it came from and how it came to be so well armed and well funded. After you've done so you may come to a very different conclusion.
          IMHO Trump's largest foreign policy mistake is to take the Saudi side (the guys that wouldn't let us have a base) against Qatar (our best allies in the middle east - the ones who actually let us have a base in their country). Qatar is giving us plenty of "material support" agains

          • At this point I feel like I no longer have a good handle on this subject. It seems fairly complex. I'd definitely appreciate any information that you had to hand. There seems to be a lot of propaganda flying in every direction. I'd really like to get a good handle on what [a] the average Muslim in {S.A., Iran, Indonesia} thinks about ISIS, on what [b] the clerical opinion is about ISIS in those countries, and definitely any reliable accounts of money movements to ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other extremist Salafist

            • by dbIII ( 701233 )

              ISIS does represent something of an existential threat to the Saudi Arabian kingdom

              Most definitely not. Kind of the exact opposite since it's spreading the views of a faction of the Saudis. It's a bit of a proxy war between the Saudis and Iran.

              I'd definitely appreciate any information that you had to hand

              I think you and everyone else interested needs a book instead of a few small web articles since it's been snowballing for many years. There are many. The ones I would have recommended are a bit dated (a

              • Most definitely not. Kind of the exact opposite since it's spreading the views of a faction of the Saudis.

                No, the House of Saud is not interested in giving up Mecca and Medina, and especially not to some group that thinks they're going to be the next caliphate.

                You're certainly inviting flaming by mentioning ESR to me, especially in connection to politics. I'll skip the anti-Zionist screeds if it's the same to you. I have read a number of books on the history of Islam and the region. I could certainly use more, but I'd rather have more current information about trends.

                We don't have allies in the region, just mor

                • by dbIII ( 701233 )

                  I'll skip the anti-Zionist screeds

                  Criticism of a politician who later ended up on trial for corruption was the "anti-Zionist screed" in that case :( Hence not mentioning Fisk's excellent book that barely mentions Israel at all - there are plenty of others.

                  No, the House of Saud

                  You are treating it as monolithic and not the factional medieval basket case that it is. They did most of the setting up of Daash and appear to still be funneling money to them, as are people in power in Turkey.

                  but IS is absolutely

          • But, they're at least ideologically opposed to the Islamic State

            Perhaps you should look into where it came from and how it came to be so well armed and well funded. After you've done so you may come to a very different conclusion. IMHO Trump's largest foreign policy mistake is to take the Saudi side (the guys that wouldn't let us have a base) against Qatar (our best allies in the middle east - the ones who actually let us have a base in their country). Qatar is giving us plenty of "material support" against I.S. while the Saudis seems to still be feeding the other side.

            Saudi Arabia is not one of the former funders of the Islamic State. They have their own factions that they back - the Islamic Front [wikipedia.org], which was a coalition of 7 Islamic parties from various parts of Syria. It is opposed to ISIS, the Baathist regime as well as the US backed Free Syrian Army. Problem is that aside from the Kurdish SDF/Rojava, all those factions are Sunni Jihadist groups, while the Baathists are Alawites allied to Hizbullah & Iran.

            In addition to that, the Saudis have been too nose de

      • But only certain branches [wikipedia.org] (mustly Saudi) Muslims believe that Jihad should be violent. Why do we support Saudi again? Why do we allow Saudi funding of mosques abroad?

        Actually, no. There are no versions of Islam that prohibit violent jihad, since Mohammed himself clearly stated that violent jihad is the highest form of service to allah.

        I generally agree w/ most criticisms of Saudi Arabia, but since President Trump's visit, they have been shifting their policies, and taking a hard line not against moderate Muslims or anti-Muslims, but against Jihadists. You mentioned Wahabism: the only other Wahabi country in the world is Qatar, which has been the focus of criticism

    • Re:Jihad (Score:4, Informative)

      by dszd0g ( 127522 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2017 @01:41AM (#54879995) Homepage

      While apparently a true statement (I'm not Muslim), it is grossly misleading:

      Until I actually googled this, I was ignorant on what jihad actually meant; "striving and working hard for something."

      http://www.islamportal.net/for... [islamportal.net]

      https://www.quora.com/Is-jihad... [quora.com]

  • I wonder how many of them will get duplicate phones, and how hard it is to conceal the real one, or have a duplicate set of SIM cards to mask your identity. Pretty draconian.. This will make people at lot more aware and vigilant about their data security.. I wonder how hard it is to partition your phone such that you have a factory reset on one, and the government spyware app on the other, such that you can easily switch the two. e.g. have the program jump to another address in flash to find an alternative main().. I've done a lot of this kind of work for fail-safe firmware uploading, but don't know much about the flash system/OS of a phone...
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      At the end of the day, the easiest thing to do is have more than one phone. One at home and one for wandering about. One phone is safe and the other phone is a mobile alibi. The more incompetent authorities rely on the alibi phone, the more you can use it to create the digital record of a model citizen. Much the same as with social network, why one identity on a social network, one for the public, perfect employee and one for private. Keep in mind the value of a alibi phone of having it and maintaining it,

      • Good luck doing that in a country where *all* mobile phones and their numbers are quickly and easily traceable by the authorities.

    • by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @08:50PM (#54878789)

      This will make people at lot more aware and vigilant about their data security...

      You've hit the nail on the head. This actually makes the position of the extremists arguably easier. Now you don't have to second guess whether or not your phone is being monitored, you can count on it and work around it. And the solution doesn't have to be fancy or technical: you just setup a set of code word/phrases via snail mail using everyday common phrases, and instead of sending "proceed with the next stage of the operation", you send "pick up milk and rice from the store".

      Which is to say: the point of eavesdropping on potentially dangerous individuals is negated by the idiocy of asking these people to assist you in their own eavesdropping by installing the required software.

      But the Chinese are not dumb enough to not realize this, which means the real cause of this is something else entirely: first it's a PR move to appease the populace by appearing to do 'something' to react to the threat, but more importantly this gives the authorities a convenient reason to detain anyone for 10 days. I mean, all they have to do is 'inspect' the phone and remove the app and BAM the guy's away for 10 days while you go through and mic his apartment and car, and if need be plant some evidence so that he can be jailed for longer. Or they can just change the log files they have from the apps to include something suspicious and arrest anyone on terrorism charges on that grounds. It's not like the chain of evidence in the Chinese system is reliable: they control the log and the phones, so that means you provably said what they claim you said, after all that's what the records show.

      So in the end this is just a way of making sure they have the ability to jail anyone at any time for any reason, which they've had all along, but usually it's been a slightly longer process, this seems to be just a step to make it easier and faster.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        You're assuming everybody starts out like some super-secret agent. If you're trying to recruit people to join your cause, you need feelers out there to find possible sympathizers. Even if you do the real talking offline, you've probably been in contact via phone or chat before that if nothing else then just to agree where and when to meet. It's metadata about who you have talked to. You make people afraid to say the wrong things. You make people afraid to agree with those who say it. You make the process sl

  • Report (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @08:29PM (#54878649)

    I'm living in this city. And yeah, they forced me to install their crazy china app. I deleted all my critical information such as photos from the phone before handed to the police.

    This app is constantly sending my phone data to CN servers. I could filter them out using my VPN, but some of my friends are already caught by police for attemting "app decompile".

    So I changed my phone. Install 2 OS on one phone.
    1 is infected by china, and the other 1 is safe.
    This system works like Veracrypt's Hidden OS. I made this for myself about 4 years ago.
    You can switch OS1 and OS2 using smartphone's hardware button. I don't write details because I don't want chinese to fuck my phone.

    I've already asked by the police to show me the app. When my phone was moved suddenly, it automatically switched to OS1.
    Only I can use OS2.

    Technology is not for a noob. Fight against them, digitally.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @08:35PM (#54878683)

    MD5 has collisions like a mofo. Besides, this sure sounds like a universal, "we don't like this person and therefore they're a terrorist" type of situation. I would be interested in knowing just what the application is capable of because I get the feeling they can remotely upload/delete whatever they want to/from your phone.

    Seems like a legit reason to not have a smartphone.

    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )

      MD5 has collisions like a mofo. Besides, this sure sounds like a universal, "we don't like this person and therefore they're a terrorist" type of situation.

      The ethnic conflict in China is not exactly the same as the terrorist situation we have here in the US. Almost 200 people died [wikipedia.org] as a result of riots by the Uyghur minority. There's also more recent and typical terrorist attacks such as this [wikipedia.org] and this [wikipedia.org], which also fans the flames. I can see why they're suspicious of muslims in general.

      Seems like a legit reason to not have a smartphone.

      Or you can side-load a cracked version that doesn't actually report anything, though I highly doubt terrorists are smart enough to actually do that. Plus, I'm pretty sure pirating

    • . Besides, this sure sounds like a universal, "we don't like this person and therefore they're a terrorist" type of situation.

      Your concern about being framed is sweet, but naive. It's communist china. Being a person "we [the government] don't like" is a crime, often a capital one. It's easier to just announce they found evidence while making someone disappear and not expounding on it

  • So we here in the US are going to publicly denounce this, right? Any minute now right? Any. Minute. Now.

    And yeah, it does kinda piss me off that my country throws human rights out the window for cheap(ish) consumer goods. Especially when Motorola proved they could sell phones made in the US without slave labor profitably, just not _as_ profitably.... Meanwhile the Saudi's are getting ready to execute another batch of protestors. Crap.
    • Well, if anyone but Trump was in the White House, this would be the subject of a press release/briefing by the State Department. It is part of their duties to publicly scold entities outside the US who violate human rights. Not to imply that these scoldings are based on a uniform standard, but anything in China is routinely brought up as an example of bad behavior.

      With the dynamic duo of Trump and Tillerson, who knows? Trump is unlikely to know or care. because his name would not be associated with any of

  • Not just Muslims but all terrorists and troublemakers. College students and professors, hippies, hackers, union members, women, gays and anyone with an IQ above 70.

    • It will come soon. All of your cloud files and emails if you use Google/MS are already hashed and scanned. First for child pornography, which being something horrible not too many objected. Now increasingly for copyright enforcement. I have no doubt Windows will soon scan your local files too, and like the cloud it will start with CP, which you can't object to without being labeled a pedophile yourself. Then copyright. If you think the list of banned materials won't expand, and that particular groups won't
  • Islam is not just a religion, it is a legal structure, where atheism is punishable by death. Communism is incompatible with any faith. Now we see the two meet. There will be no winners here.

    • PLA: "Do you renounce your faith?"
      Muslim 1: "No
      PLA: *shots fired point-blank in the head*
      PLA: "Do you renounce your faith?"
      Muslim2: "Allah A.."
      PLA: *several shots fired point-blank in the chest*
      PLA: "Do you renou..."
      Muslim3: "Yes, yes I do.

      And that's how you break the back of your adversaries with everyone watching. It's motherfucking BRUTAL. It's also exceedingly successful. The West can't stomach how to achieve victory, so we haven't nor will we ever have it again.

      • How do you know Muslim3 isn't lying?
        • Don't have to eliminate all of them, just the brave ones, and leave the remaining to cower among the fringe minority amongst the rest of the population.

          Sometimes you've got to put out that fire with fire. And yes, human beings are the most creative and vile creatures on Earth; and we're damn good at it too!

  • Will likely be one where everyone discusses their differences in a sane a rational manner and everyone will go their own way the wiser for it. I can't wait to see how enlightened we all will be at the end of it.

  • Suddenly the number of dissidents jumped. Couldn't be anything with a newly missed iff bunch of people now feeling whatever freedoms they had squashed even further? Even the most innocent can lash back out they feel they are being treated unfairly or like caged animals. .

  • What's a Smartphone? I need App? Oh! Apple! I do know what an apple is. I have one right here.

    /no offense

  • In the USA, the NSA will install it for you, and they will "update" your encryption so there is another master key...... just in case you loose yours. Yes, I am being sarcastic, but 20 years ago who would have believed that this is close to being the truth.
  • apple and google need to ban this app!

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2017 @06:44AM (#54880635)

    I thought all phones made in China where already full of spyware, or are they only accessible to the NSA?

    I seriously would like to know what the history books will have to say about these times of data collection by governments and companies alike.

    I hope they will say that it was just a black page in history, because that would mean things would have gone better. If they say that this was the period that the great enlightenment started, it means that things would get far worse.

    Well, privacy was nice while it lasted, but just like your virginity, one you get fucked, you ain't getting it back. The difference is that you have no say in the matter. Not really.

    I think I need to re-watch "The Circle".

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger

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