China begins monitoring billions of text messages


Discussion, Events, Art, Music, News and Networking.
User avatar
Joined:Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:03 am
China begins monitoring billions of text messages

Post by Stevyn » Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:47 am ... eases.html

Customers of China’s two largest mobile phone networks, China Mobile and China Unicom, have had their texting service blocked after sending risqué messages, the state media claims.

The disclosure comes as the country is embroiled in a dispute with Google. On Tuesday the internet giant said it could quit China because of concerns over censorship. The Global Times, a government-run newspaper, said: “Everyone seems to be under watch.”

Last year, the government pledged to suppress pornography on the internet and now appears to have extended its campaign to mobile phones.

China Mobile, the world’s biggest mobile phone company, said it was complying with demands from the police to report “illegal” text messages that included pornography, violence, fraud, suggestions of terrorism, instigations to crime and gambling. It said a mobile phone would be blocked if a message breached any of its filters.

It has more than 508 million customers and its network handles 1.7 billion text messages a day.

Even civil servants have expressed reservations about communications censorship. “We have a lot of private things in our mobile phones,” one, named only as Mr Cao, told the Global Times. “If they monitor the messages, a lot of private things would be leaked.”

The Southern Metropolis newspaper said a man from the southern city of Dongguan recently had his phone blocked. China Mobile’s customer service told him their computers had detected lewd words in his messages and that he would have to take his identity card to the police to reactivate the phone. He also had to furnish a letter guaranteeing that he would no longer spread inappropriate messages.

Some of China’s most prominent human rights activists claimed yesterday that their Google email accounts had been hacked.

Microsoft said yesterday it had no plans to pull out of China, dashing hopes that the software giant would support its rival Google.

Google cited Chinese attacks on its network as the final straw since setting up its operations in 2006.

However, Steven Ballmer, the chief executive of Microsoft, whose search engine Bing could benefit if Google surrendered its 30 per cent share of the Chinese market, questioned the significance of the attacks, which were detected last month.

“I don’t think there was anything unusual,” Mr Ballmer said. “We’re attacked every day from all parts of the world and I think everybody else is too.”

The White House has supported Google, demanding an “explanation” for the hacking.

Lawrence Summers, a senior economic adviser to the White House, said: “The principles that Google is trying to uphold are not just important in a moral or rights framework, but are also of considerable economic importance.”

China has so far shown no signs of giving ground over Google’s demand to operate uncensored.
Contact me directly: Ironfeatherbooks (@)


Post Reply