China has a long history of oppressive technological laws, but the countries most recent measure is beyond reprehensible. According to a local report out of China dated July 13th 2017, the Government is now requiring residents of Urumqi, a Muslim majority region in the country, to install spyware on their phone under penalty of law.
According to the report, the residents of Urumqi will be required to install a program called “Jingwang,” which will allow the Government to record and spy upon the activity of any users whom download it. The Government says they only want to track cell phone activity in the region to see if anyone is consuming or producing “terrorist and illegal religious videos, images, e-books, and electronic documents.” However, any person whom refuses to install the spyware on their phones faces a mandatory punishment of up to 10 days in prison.
According to analysis by Softpedia News, “The app can spy on the majority of activities performed on the phone, with logged data including conversations on WeChat and Weibo, two of the most popular communication platforms in China.” Additionally, “Information like Wi-Fi login details, device IMEI, and SIM card data is also collected and transferred to a government server, along with information on the media files stored on the device and which are compared to digital signatures of content flagged as infringing or linked with terrorist activity.”
Apparently, if someone is viewing anything that the Government deems as disagreeable or has previously flagged, the user will be sent a message or notification advising them to discontinue what they are doing on their phones at that moment.
To ensure that everyone complies with the countries newest regulation, police will reportedly be setting up various check points around the city for the next few weeks, in order to make sure people have downloaded the app or download it for them if they have not already. Police have already sent out a mass text to the public warning that anyone whom fails to comply with the new regulation will be detained.