CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 July 2019

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Uyghurs’ phones targeted by police

BEIJING (AsiaNews): Since mid-July, Muslim people of Uyghur background in Xinjiang have been required by the Chinese government to install an application ostensibly designed to monitor terrorism, but it is claimed by AsiaNews to monitor telephone communications.
 
Anyone who refuses to install the spyware app becomes liable to 10 days in prison.
 
On July 13, the local authorities ordered the Uyghur people to download Jing Wang (Clean Internet), an app that automatically detects videos, images, e-books and religious documents stored in mobile phones.
 
The government claims that the goal is to seek out terrorist content and impose electronic self-monitoring on people, but with every mobile phone self-monitored by the app, the police can check anyone at any time, something that concerns human rights organisations.
 
“The authorities have a lot of explaining to do about this software, including what it does,” Maya Wang, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong, commented.
 
“While the authorities have the responsibility to protect public safety, including fighting terrorism, such mass collection of data from ordinary people is a form of mass surveillance and an intrusion of privacy,” she added.
 
Indeed, it is still not clear what would happen if sensitive material was found. Presumably it would be deleted, but what will happen to the owner of the phone remains unclear.

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