Citizen Lab Research Fellow Jason Q. Ng published a piece in The Atlantic on 27 November. Titled, How Tech Companies Can Help Overcome Chinese Censorship, the piece looks at censorship in China:
LINE is an instant messaging chat application produced by a Japanese subsidiary of Naver, the biggest Internet company in South Korea. It boasts dizzying numbers for a tech company that’s only two and a half years old: over 280 million registered users, quarterly revenue of $130 million, and an estimated market capitalization value of $10 billion. Like its competitors, WhatsApp, WeChat, and KakaoTalk, LINE is seen as the new frontier where Internet users, especially those in Asia and the developing world, will communicate in the future.
Which is why it was unsurprising—though regrettable—when last week the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs published a report detailing how it reverse engineered LINE to reveal that it actively censored messages sent and received by its Chinese users. So whereas non-Chinese LINE users could chat about the June 4 Tiananmen crackdown, interviews with Falun Gong founder Li Honglin, or even erotic fan fiction featuring president Xi Jinping’s wife, those in China would receive error messages when sending notes and asterisked-out text when receiving them.
Click here to read the full piece and see the related Citizen Lab report, Asia Chats: Analyzing Information Controls and Privacy in Asian Messaging Applications.