Feeds

Social network bins Beijing's banned buzzwords

Japan's 'Line' scares international users by complying with Chinese law

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Japanese Whatsapp-like service Line has come under uncomfortable scrutiny by international users after appearing to prepare self-censorship capabilities for its Chinese service Lian wo.

Twitter user @hirakujira spotted a chunk of code in the social messaging app including “<key>warning.badwords<key>” which would trigger a user warning along the lines of “Your message contains sensitive words, please adjust and send again”, if a forbidden Chinese word was used.

The bad words in question include classic Communist Party no-nos including “Tiananmen Square”, “Tibetan self-immolation” and “CCP major scandal”, according to Hirakujira, who apparently gained access to the Lian wo servers (via TheNextWeb).

Although the censorship capabilities have not yet been activated, and Line maintains they would only be used to comply with Chinese laws for users within the Great Firewall, the revelation will be unsettling for users of its service elsewhere.

The NHN Japan-built Line already claims 150 million users worldwide to its name and is keen to expand in South America, the US and beyond, but it will be tough to reassure potential customers with the stigma of censorship hanging over it, especially in a market already dominated by Whatsapp.

Its other major competitor, WeChat, was recently hit by similar concerns after what parent company Tencent called a “technical glitch” resulted in international users not being able to send messages in Chinese containing certain sensitive keywords.

That incident appears to have been a one off, but with messages all passing through Tencent’s servers in China, there remains scepticism that the firm is monitoring users.

If nothing else the Line case highlights the increasing problems facing internet firms which deal with large amounts of user-generated content: crack China and effectively admit to the repressive censorship of users or miss out on a hugely lucrative market. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.