As a follow-up to our March 2020 report, we conducted daily tests on WeChat and collected 2,174 censored keywords between January to May 2020. This data provides a view into how narratives and messaging on the pandemic are controlled and molded on social media in China.
The encroachments to OTF highlight why independent and transparent funding sources for research and development on Internet freedom are so important. Providing this type of support within a large government organisation can be difficult. OTF was an example of how to do that right. Losing that example will be a loss not only to the practitioners and researchers that have grown through the support of OTF but the wider community of marginalized people they support.
The analysis of YY and WeChat indicates broad censorship—blocking sensitive terms as well as general information and neutral references—potentially limiting the public’s ability to access information that may be essential to their health and safety.
New York Times journalist Ben Hubbard was targeted with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware via a June 2018 SMS message promising details about “Ben Hubbard and the story of the Saudi Royal Family.” The SMS contained a hyperlink to a website used by a Pegasus operator that we call KINGDOM. We have linked KINGDOM to Saudi Arabia. In 2018, KINGDOM also targeted Saudi dissidents including Omar Abdulaziz, Ghanem al-Masarir, and Yahya Assiri, as well as a staff member at Amnesty International.
This campaign is the first documented case of one-click mobile exploits used to target Tibetan groups, and reflects an escalation in the sophistication of digital espionage threats targeting the community.
In the days leading up to the 30th anniversary of June 4 1989, YY, a popular live streaming platform in mainland China, updated its keyword blacklists with content focused on Democracy Movement related memorials and activism in Hong Kong.
This research brief details how Griselda Triana, journalist and the wife of slain journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas, was targeted with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware in the days after his killing.
Two days after the murder of award-winning Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas, two of his colleagues began receiving text messages laden with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. To date, 24 targets of Pegasus have been identified in Mexico. This case additionally illustrates an alarming trend of spyware attacks around the world specifically aimed at journalists.
This report demonstrates the technical underpinnings of how WeChat image censorship operates and suggests possible evasion strategies.