Software

Chinese authorities impose software on citizens that can be used for total surveillance of them

The digitalization of the economy has opened up the broadest opportunities for fraudsters of all stripes to manipulate citizens in order to obtain material values ​​from them. The Chinese authorities are also concerned about such activity, and as a means of combating fraudsters, they offer a special mobile application with broad powers to collect user data.

Image source: Bloomberg

Image source: Bloomberg

Telephone fraud, as noted by the PRC authorities, has become the most progressive type of illegal activity in recent years. If in 2018 73 thousand people were arrested on charges of this kind, then by the end of last year it increased to 361 thousand people. In an attempt to contain the growth of such activity, the authorities offered Chinese citizens a mobile application that monitors conversations and text messages. In total, the user must provide 29 types of permits to enable the competent authorities of China to best protect themselves from fraudsters. In the first three months after the application was released into circulation, the authorities received 23 million alarming reports of suspicious activity.

As explains Financial Times, law-abiding residents of China were also hit, who simply tried to visit the websites of some foreign news agencies such as Bloomberg. The profile application, for some reason, considers this information resource to be fraudulent, and therefore informs the competent authorities of the PRC about the interest of citizens in it. Residents of several regions of China admitted to the publication that they had been summoned for questioning after trying to obtain information from Internet sources marked by the authorities as unreliable. Among the issues that appeared in the conversation with representatives of justice, the presence of contacts abroad was also included.

In many cases, government agencies entice their employees to install a specialized application. Without this, it has now become difficult to conclude a rental agreement or arrange for children to go to school. Employers often force employees to use the app on their personal mobile devices. True, the situation is somewhat facilitated by the fact that it is mainly the fact of the initial installation that is controlled, and those who wish in the future can delete the application without any special consequences.

About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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