Feeds

China opens its ears to snooping in foreign tongues

Arabic, Japanese and regional dialects now discernible by Beijing's intelligence chaps

Mobile application security vulnerability report

China’s fearsome censorship and surveillance apparatus just got even more intimidating after the introduction of new technology to track communications in regional languages other than the Mandarin/Putonghua spoken in most of the country.

The unnamed system was developed by Tsinghua university’s Centre for Intelligent Image and Document Information Processing and is likely to be targeted at trouble makers in regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang.

The technology will allow local cyber snoopers to monitor conversations in every major ethnic minority language in China, as well as Arabic and Japanese, project leader Ding Xiaoqing told the South China Morning Post.

Current surveillance tools employed by Beijing’s vast security forces are apparently only able to deal with one language at a time and require the operator to speak that language.

The new system is also able to detect internet-based messages which can bypass current snooping technologies by encoding them into images.

"An increasing number of messages are passed around on the internet in image format to dodge the government's surveillance. Most of the equipment in use these days cannot deal with such information," Ding told the paper.

China is stepping up its monitoring of citizens in trouble-hit areas like Tibet and Xinjiang, especially following the deadly October 28 car bomb attack in Tiananmen Square which is suspected to have been carried out by Uyghur separatists.

Such attacks are extremely rare in the People’s Republic, in part because of the huge resources it devotes to monitoring its citizens and censoring what they can read and post online.

Its success in this field has even helped popularise such systems in North Korea, the Middle East and elsewhere, leading to some lucrative contracts for those technology suppliers prepared to ignore the morality of the whole thing.

In March a Reporters Without Borders report singled out as “enemies of the internet” French spyware firm Amesys, which is claimed to have sold to the Gadaffi regime; UK/German spyware maker Gamma International; and Italian firm Hacking Team, which provides “lawful interception” kit; among others.

Just this week El Reg came across Hong Kong-based biz Semptian, which appears to be marketing an off-the-shelf Great Firewall product. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'
Scrutiny committee bods probe derailed database project
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves
Big Content could get the right to order ISPs to stop traffic
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.