Phone News

 Latest



 Update: Snooping and control...

China's Xinjiang Residents Are Being Forced to Install Surveillance Apps on Mobile Phones


Link Here 23rd July 2017  full story: Mass snooping in China...Internet and phone snooping in China
jing wangResidents of Xinjiang, an ethnic minority region of western China, are being forced to install spyware on their mobile phones.

On July 10, mobile phone users in the Tianshan District of Urumqi City received a mobile phone notification from the district government instructing them to install a surveillance application called Jingwang (or Web Cleansing). The message said the app was intended to prevent [them] from accessing terrorist information.

But authorities may be using the app for more than just counter-terrorism. According to an exclusive report from Radio Free Asia, 10 Kazakh women from Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture were arrested for messages sent to a private WeChat group chat soon after they installed the app.

The notification from police said the application would locate and track the sources and distribution paths of terrorists, along with illegal religious activity and harmful information, including videos, images, ebooks and documents.

Jingwang's website describes the application as follows:

Jingwang is a protection service with an adult and child categorization system introduced by Jiangsu Telecom. The main function is to block pornographic websites, online scams, trojan horses, and phishing sites; to alert users of how much time they spend online; and to enable remote control of one's home network. The tool is intended to help kids develop a healthy lifestyle by building a safe web filter for the minors.

Of course, any tool with these capabilities could be used in multiple ways. For example, the app's remote control feature could enable state actors or even hackers to manipulate or steal from a person's home network.

The move is consistent with other measures of control over digital activities in the region. While stories of digital censorship in China often focus on the experiences of users in major cities in the east and south, the reality is often more bleak for those living in remote, embattled ethnic minority regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet. Seeking to contain unrest and discontent in conflict areas, authorities often impose extreme censorship and surveillance measures and routine Internet shutdowns .

Authorities from Xinjiang are checking to make sure that people are using the official Jingwang application. A mobile notification demanded people install the app within 10 days. If they are caught at a checkpoint and their devices do not have the software, they could be detained for 10 days. This is a setback on the development of technology. They forced people to use devices designed for the elderly. It is a form of confinement by through surveillance technology. We are back to Mao's China.

Images from mainland China also posted a product description of Jingwang which explained that the tool can negate the password requirement of a Windows operating system and access the computer hard disk with no restrictions. Once installed with Jingwang, computers and mobiles in Xinjiang, would become electronic handcuffs.

 

 Update: Fingerprints required for a top-up...

Thai government proposes extreme measures to control phone users and social media companies


Link Here 18th July 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking
NBTC logoInternational over-the-top (OTT) content providers have been the bane of Thai regulator National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's (NBTC) existence over the past few months.

The supposedly independent communications censor seems to be obsessed with finding ways to curb the likes of Facebook, Google, YouTube and Alibaba. In early April it boldly suggested imposing some kind of bandwidth fee on the consumption of OTT services, requiring OTT players to have an operating licence to run a business in Thailand and even making them pay a value-added service tax for transactions by local merchants.

The head of the broadcasting committee, Natee Sukonrat, was quoted as saying users on social media who influence public opinion will have to be reined in.

What on the surface may seem to be an effort to create a more level playing field for the mobile players could also be seen as a thinly disguised attempt to give the regulator the power to more easily monitor and censor content the government is finding difficult to regulate. The widely-criticised proposals are merely a backhanded move to bypass current legal processes and give the regulator the authority to demand the removal of content the military-run government considers illegal without waiting for a court order, which the government has complained is time consuming.

Facebook and co would not play ball with Thai government requests and the government was forced drop the plan to register OTT players for tax purposes. However the government said that it would push ahead to replace several weak points in the censorship process and come up with a revised proposal in 30 days.

And now the junta's ominously named National Reform Steering Assembly this month approved an 84-page social media censorship proposal, which would require such things as fingerprint and facial scanning just to top-up a prepaid plan, all in an effort to be able to identify those posting content to OTT services. The push for fingerprint and facial recognition is in addition to existing requirements for all SIM users to register with their 13-digit national IDs.

Commentators say the stringent rules are similar to those in use in China and Iran.

 

  PC censors strike...

Disgraceful ASA banning of advert for the mobile app Mobile Strike


Link Here 5th April 2017

mobile strike players in bikinis video  An ad on the advertiser's YouTube channel, seen in December 2016, for the mobile game app Mobile Strike , featured two women wearing bikinis and sitting on sun-loungers. They were playing the game on their phones. In another scene, shot in slow motion, a third woman, who was wearing a swimsuit, was seen walking down a path towards them and also playing the game on her mobile phone. As she approached, she flicked her hair back from her face and then stopped and looked into the camera. In the final scene, she approached the other two women and stood with one hand on her hip whilst looking and smiling at the two other women.

The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because they believed it objectified women.

Machine Zone Inc explained that their mobile app game Mobile Strike, was a modern military-themed combat game where players could battle against other players. One important feature of the game was that it could be played on mobile devices, the game was therefore portable and could be played anywhere. They believed the juxtaposition between what people normally did by the pool (i.e. relax and lounge) with the visuals of the players battling it out with jets and tanks was what made the ad so striking. That theme was used in other ads for the game -- for example, players battling one another in cafes, restaurants and the launderette. The intention was to show that the Mobile Strike game could liven up a player's time spent in everyday, sometimes boring, spaces.

They did not believe the ad objectified women. They said that because of the setting, the women were wearing bathing suits. The intention was to feature real-sized women and reference mythical warrior women like Amazons and Wonder Woman , as the women were seen making strategic moves in battle against one another. They said they had concerns that the complainant's objection was the size of the women featured rather than what they were wearing or doing in the ad. They suspected that had the women been typically thin models seen in ads, it was unlikely that a complaint would have been made. They had decided to feature real-sized women as a nod to their diverse player base.

They said they had run the ad globally for a number of months and had not received any other complaints about it. In fact, they said they had received considerable support from their players for featuring real-sized women in their ad, as they were often under represented.

YouTube said the ad did not violate their Community Guidelines or Advertising Policies. They said the ad had been served through AdWords, a self-administered system and it was the advertiser's responsibility to choose appropriate targeting of their ads, as well as to abide by applicable law and regulations, including the CAP Code.

ASA Assessment. Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted that the images of the women wearing swimwear bore no relation to the product being advertised -- a combat-themed mobile game app. We also noted that in some of the scenes, the mannerisms of the women were seductive or sexually-charged. For example, in one scene, a woman wearing a thong bikini was seen walking towards a sun lounger and the camera angle was taken from below and behind so that as she walked into the scene, only her legs and her thong bikini bottoms were in view. We noted that another scene featuring one of the women wearing a swimsuit was shot in slow motion, and the emphasis was on her body rather than the mobile game app she was playing. One of the camera angles was shot side-on which highlighted her waist and chest. As she approached the camera, she flicked her hair back, stopped and looked seductively into the camera. We noted that the ad featured plus-sized models but we considered that fact was irrelevant. For those reasons, we considered that the ad objectified women and was therefore offensive.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Machine Zone Inc to ensure that its ads in future did not objectify women and cause offence.