Category Archives: Censorship

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Tim Cook ‘optimistic’ Chinese cyber regulators will allow pulled apps back on iPhone

Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed ‘hope’ that the communist Chinese government will allow Apple to reinstate certain apps to the tech giant’s App Store on Wednesday. 

Earlier this year, Apple removed some messaging and VPM apps — which allow users to mask their IP address and access websites censored by the authoritative Chinese government — from the App store at the request of Chinese officials.  

The app ExpressVPM, or instance, received a notice from Apple in July stating that “your application will be removed from the China App Store because it contains content that is illegal in China….”

SEE ALSO: This new FDA-approved Apple Watch band measures the electricity in your heart Read more…

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Chinese internet users will no longer be able to post online anonymously

More bad news for folks in China.

Chinese internet users will no longer be able to post comments online anonymously as of Oct. 1.

SEE ALSO: For China’s censors, livestreaming is a huge headache

The new ruling is the latest in the government’s move to tighten control over internet usage in the country.

According to the Cyberspace Administration of China, sites like social networks and discussion forums will have to verify the real identities of registered users before they can be allowed to post anything on their platforms. 

Comments on news stories will also have to be reviewed by the website before they can appear online, according to a report by the South China Morning Post. Read more…

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Why Apple plays China’s censorship game

Apple’s earnings call on Tuesday yielded good news overall in terms of sales, but one inescapable issue came up again that will likely shape the company’s future on the international stage: The Great Firewall of China. 

Based on the events of the last few days, we now know that even the biggest tech company on the planet can’t put a significant crack in that impenetrable wall of internet censorship that gives the Chinese government ultimate power over all things internet — Silicon Valley “disruption” be damned.   

On Saturday, Apple confirmed that it had removed a number of VPN apps from its China App Store in compliance with local law. At the time, the move was described by Apple as adhering to China’s rule of law, which intensified back in January with regard to VPNs that help Chinese users skirt the government’s tight control of the internet.  Read more…

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Scramble to download VPN apps as they vanished from Apple’s China App Store

As VPN apps started to disappear from China’s iOS App Store over the weekend, users in the country were frantically downloading as many as they could.

On Saturday, Apple pulled the rug out from under Chinese iPhone users’ feet, by taking down VPN apps from the App Store.

VPN apps allow people to access websites that China blocks at an ISP level. This includes popular sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and all of Google’s services including Gmail and search.

The move means China was successful in pressuring Apple to comply with its growing stranglehold on data freedom in the country, and comes amid a broader ongoing crackdown on social media users. Read more…

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Vladimir Putin signs law banning VPN access for Russian internet users

Just one day after it was revealed that Apple had removed virtual private networking (VPN) apps from its China App Store at the behest of the government, we’ve learned that officials in Russia are cracking down on VPN services, too. 

SEE ALSO: With this move, China will effectively choke off all VPN usage

A new law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, now bans any technology, including VPNs, used to visit websites banned in Russia, Reuters reported on Sunday. 

Like China, Russia keeps a tight leash on the sites it allows its citizens to visit. Back in 2014, Putin passed a law that required internet companies to store the data of Russian users on Russia-based servers, a rule that stoked fears that Russian internet users would have their information and internet access censored by the government.  Read more…

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‘Despacito’ deemed too saucy for Malaysian radio

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You won’t be able to hear catchy hit song “Despacito” on any of Malaysia’s 44 public radio stations any time soon.

That’s because public broadcaster Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) has banned the Luis Fonsi single, following complaints from conservative Muslim groups.

SEE ALSO: ‘Despacito’ is officially the song of summer, and here’s why

The broadcaster decided to pull the song from radio play, because its lyrics were too explicit, the country’s Communications and Multimedia Minister, Salleh Said Keruak, told news agency Bernama.

“We ask the radio stations to be sensitive to local norms and apply self-censorship of the song,” the minister said, adding that stations should either take it down from airwaves or censor explicit parts of the song.  Read more…

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Whatsapp users in China report issues sending pictures and video, fearing censorship

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Chinese Whatsapp users are fearing that the app is being blocked in the country.

On Tuesday, users found they weren’t able to send pictures or videos across. It only worked when they used a VPN server instead, possibly indicating that the issue wasn’t with Whatsapp, but with the government’s notorious firewall.

If true, the high-profile messaging app would be the latest casualty in China’s latest efforts to police online content.

SEE ALSO: China censors ‘RIP’ and the candle emoji as people mourn Nobel Peace Prize winner

Users took to Twitter to confirm the peculiar outage:

Has #China blocked #whatsapp, or is it just a glitch? Can only access thru vpn since yesterday

— Jeremy Koh (@JeremyKohCNA) July 18, 2017 Read more…

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China censors ‘RIP’ and the candle emoji as people mourn Nobel Peace Prize winner

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Shortly after Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo’s death was announced, China’s biggest social network has started censoring a host of words — and even emoji — typically used in mourning posts.

Users on Weibo found on Friday that they couldn’t search for the candle emoji, as well as keywords like RIP. 

SEE ALSO: Sick of censoring content, China bans livestreaming altogether

Liu, a well-known human rights activist and dissident, passed away on Thursday after battling liver cancer. He was serving an 11-year sentence in a Chinese prison, and was granted medical parole only in June, diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer. Read more…

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With this move, China will effectively choke of all VPN usage

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China wants you to know it means business on its new censorship rules.

The government has told three telecommunications carriers to completely block users from accessing virtual private networks (VPN) by Feb. 1, 2018, according to a Bloomberg report.

SEE ALSO: For China’s censors, livestreaming is a huge headache

This is huge. Many people in China rely on VPN providers to access information from dozens of popular websites that are blocked in the country. We’re talking Google, Facebook and Twitter, to name a few, not to mention foreign news sites.

And although China has been talking about shutting down VPN providers for some time now, this latest announcement comes at the internet service provider (ISP) level, meaning users can’t simply hop to another VPN provider if their favourite one gets shut down. Read more…

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Facebook could now be fined $57m over hate speech

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Facebook beware — Germany is finally getting serious on fighting hate speech, and that has wider consequences.

SEE ALSO: This country is waging a war against Facebook

For some time, the European country flagged the possibility it could impose a heavy fine on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks for allowing fake news and hate messages to proliferate. 

On Friday, German lawmakers passed the Network Enforcement Act, commonly nicknamed as the “Facebook law”, under which social media companies could face a fine of up to €50m (£43m; $57m) for failing to crack down on hate speech, criminal material and fake news.  Read more…

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