Human Rights Watch reverse-engineered the app that the Chinese state uses to spy on people in Xinjiang

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At some point in the future, and not just in China or Belt-and-Road countries, it will be a signifier of great wealth or power to be able to walk around without one’s always-on digital communications device. It will also be a hidden signifier of intelligence and skill to walk around with one’s hacked always-on digital communications device feeding spoofed data to the authorities.


Audio interview with HRW: 25:09


Authorities are paying special attention to 36 “Person Types”

36. Other

Yikes! I’m an other. What should I do?


For the future, search and replace:

China --> US
Chinese --> President-for-Life Trump
China’s Xinjiang province --> US Blue states
Uyghur ethnic minority --> democrats, liberals, progressives, POC, LBGT+, Muslims
Turkic Muslim --> non-evanglical Christians


I’d like to believe you, but I think the more likely scenario is that it’s going to be damn near impossible to tell whether or not someone has an always-on digital communications device on, in, or otherwise part of their person.


Key to maintaining the Chinese control over the region is the Integrated Joint Operations Platform

Coming soon, I’ll bet ya, to a country near you. That is, if you even get a chance to know about it in the first place. Have a nice day!

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True. My first scenario is more performative (sort of like the wealthy tech execs who don’t let their kids near the devices they sell), my second somewhat self-deluding (I never had a Facebook account, and yet I’m sure they have a “shadow profile” for me).


Anyone at Ubisoft: want to set Watch Dogs 4 in Hong Kong or China? :slight_smile:

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Chinese governmental concern for human rights aside, what possible courses of action remain open? It’s quite clear that merely pointing out to the authorities that these apps break Chinese laws mean next to nothing, as the ‘real’ laws of “CONTROL” and “ERADICATE DISSENT” overrides all of those pretty little strips of ink on paper shown to the public.

Reducing tourism or foreign worker presence in China? Boycotting Chinese-made goods?

This is pretty terrifying.

So much stuff is Chinese-made (or uses Chinese-made components) that a boycott sounds like a staggering effort, but it’s starting to look like it’d be worth it…


But if somebody got into the back end storage and left a little worm that slowly started transposing random bits of information… :smiling_imp:

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