Feeds

China snoops on text messages

Stamping out out 'false political rumours'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

China has extended its hard-line stand against human rights and personal freedom by introducing new rules to monitor and censor the use of text messages.

According to state media, by way of AFP, the "Self-Discipline Standards on Content in Mobile Short Messaging Services" have been brought in to tackle porn, fraud and other dodgy content.

But critics claim this is yet another move by Chinese authorities to clampdown on personal freedoms. They claim that the idea that the new rules will be used to tackle mobile phone fraud is just a smokescreen. Instead, they insist that the surveillance technology will be used to identify "reactionary" texters and pinpoint those spreading "false political rumours" and "reactionary remarks".

Condemning the move media rights group, Reporters Without Borders, said: "The Chinese authorities are making ever greater use of new technology to control the circulation of news and information. In the past months we have been witnessing a real downturn in press freedom particularly on the Internet. The international community should react against this hardening by the Chinese regime."

According to information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, China has 2,800 SMS surveillance centres. During the SARS epidemic in May 2003, these snooping centres worked flat out to monitor text messages sent about SARS. Around a dozen people were arrested as a result for having spread "false rumours" through their mobile phones, said the media rights group.

Last month, Chinese websites, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other Internet-related organisations across the country were "invited" to sign a self-discipline pact drawn up by the Beijing-based China Internet Association to prevent the spread of anti-government information, porn and anything else that might threaten "national security (and) social stability". ®

Related stories

China urges ISPs to sign 'self-disciplinary' pact
Chinese cyber-dissident gets four years' house arrest
China goes large for mobile phones
Chinese government censors online games

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.