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Thursday, August 17, 2017


WhatsApp users in China reported Tuesday on other social media platforms that the app was partly inaccessible unless virtual private network software was used to circumvent China's censorship apparatus, known colloquially as The Great Firewall.

A Chinese censorship researcher known by his pseudonym Charlie Smith said authorities appeared to be blocking non-text WhatsApp messages wholesale precisely because they have not been able to selectively block content on the platform like they have with WeChat, which is produced by Shenzhen-based internet giant Tencent and legally bound to cooperate with Chinese security agencies.

The new cyber security rules, broad and vague, have left Western companies uncertain of how they will be applied and what impact they could have on a difficult operating environment. The government has put strong emphasis on the law, which could serve as a watershed for how the internet is managed and foreign companies are policed ,It`s Important for the ministries to secure the great firewall either if it not affect them now , they have to think about the future & what will depend on a difficult operating environment as a result

Paul Triolo, the head of geo-technology at Eurasia Group, said that a possible next step would be for China to target other encrypted messaging apps like Signal, pointing out that such apps “represent a small but growing and potentially important hole in the Great Firewall.”

“The ministries and support organizations that under-gird the Great Firewall must constantly prove they can keep abreast of technological change, and encrypted messaging apps are just the latest in a long string of innovations that have drawn the attention of the technical wizards behind the Great Firewall,” Mr. Triolo said.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook and offers end-to-end encryption, has a relatively small but loyal following among users seeking a greater degree of privacy from government snooping than afforded by popular domestic app WeChat, which is ubiquitous but closely monitored and filtered. WhatsApp provides encrypted messaging, making it a useful tool for many Chinese to communicate or do business outside the country or in Hong Kong.

China's leadership is known to block websites that running up against China’s “Great Firewall”

The disruption of WhatsApp was the latest in a long line of big digital services running up against China’s “Great Firewall” the country’s system of internet filters and controls. In recent weeks, the government has appeared to increase its grip, an online crackdown fed by a perfect storm of politically sensitive news, important events and a new cybersecurity law that went into effect last month.

Meanwhile social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China, with President Xi Jinping a vocal advocate of so-called cyber sovereignty.

The Guardian’s website has been partially blocked in China,The reasons for the Guardian block are unclear – no China_related stories published by the Guardian in the past two days would obviously be perceived as dangerous by the country's leadership Guardian has covered the subject before without any noticeable fallout.

China's leadership is known to block websites that it deems a threat – Bloomberg and the New York Times have been blocked since 2012, when they published lengthy investigations revealing the vast wealth accumulated by the families of senior leaders.

Wechat encrypted, monitored and censored services

Three years ago, very few people bought things using WeChat but now roughly a third of its users are making regular e-commerce purchases directly through the app. more merchants and brands set up official accounts, it becomes a buzzer and more appealing bazaar.
The progressive tightening of messaging apps forces Chinese users to resort to domestic apps such as WeChat "to simply function and have day-to-day communications," said Kobeissi, the security researcher. "Then they can be monitored en masse."

"It would not be surprising to find that everything on WhatsApp gets blocked, forcing users in China to use encrypted, monitored and censored services like WeChat," a censorship researcher who goes by the name Charlie Smith told the AP.
WeChat has flourished for simple, commercial reasons: it solves problems for its users, and it delights them with new and unexpected offerings. That will change the mobile internet for everyone—those outside China included, as Western firms do their all to emulate its success

will the blockage may affect Chinese tourists and doing business with China ? will the blockage turn Chinese commerce purchases to be through wechat ?

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