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China's border police are installing surveillance apps on the smartphones of some tourists

By Polycount · 29 replies
Jul 2, 2019
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  1. The report, which comes from The Guardian, claims that most visitors were not warned ahead of time that their phones would have this app installed, nor were they told what sort of spying the software would be doing.

    The Guardian, however (working alongside The New York Times and Süddeutsche Zeitung), found that the app searches texts, emails, and contact information for a variety of religious material. For example, the outlet says the app scans for "terms associated with Islamist extremism," in addition to more innocuous religious information, like Ramadan fasting practices.

    That's far from a comprehensive list of the content the app looks for, but it should give you a general idea. This app is apparently only being installed on the phones of users who enter Xinjiang from China's Kyrgyzstan region. It's unclear why this practice is only being performed at that specific border checkpoint, but visitors -- though not happy about it -- don't seem surprised that it's occurring.

    "I don't like it. If they were doing it in my home country I would be aghast," one traveler told The Guardian. "but when you are travelling to China you know it might be like this."

    The only phones The Guardian and its investigative allies were able to confirm the app was installed on happened to be Android devices. Still, the outlet says "iPhones were also taken by officers," and presumably fitted with similar software.

    Image credit: Security Camera and Urban Video by Pixinoo

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2019
  2. fluffydestroyer

    fluffydestroyer TS Booster Posts: 88   +42

    Why on earth would you give access to anyone to your phone ? thats stupid of you. If its locked they wont be able to access it, end of the line.
  3. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 556   +272

    That's when they jail you, cease your phone and then deport you. Solution; don't visit China. And if you have to, don't take your personal phone/tablet/laptop.
  4. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,389   +1,020

    When in Rome...

    China doesn't tolerate a number of things: free speech, the right to bear arms, or virtually the bulk of American law.

    So you have two simple solutions:

    #1 comply

    #2 don't visit China.

    Afterall - it's not like they need you there: they have America's economy by the nads and they have 1.3+ Billion people.
    Digitalzone and Karlos95 like this.
  5. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,389   +1,020

    I lived in China as a student in Fu Dan University.

    I was warned before coming to China:

    #1 Do not practice Fa Lun Gong

    #2 Do not mess with guns, drugs or other criminal activities.

    So I went there, I lived there, I studied Mandarin/Business and then I left.

    I would go again - despite the way they treat the Xin Jiang people. That isn't my war.

    Considering how America treats "illegal aliens" and "black citizens" there's no room to criticize.
  6. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 556   +272

    Thank You for repeating what I just said verbatim.
    This is patently, laughably, false. Your understanding of Chinese/American debt is woefully misinformed.
    That comparison is as inaccurate as it is out of context. China doesn't have an illegal immigration problem and they never had the African slave trade problem.
    Knot Schure likes this.
  7. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,591   +933

    You should start clicking source links perhaps?

    "Chinese border police are secretly installing surveillance apps on the phones of visitors and downloading personal information as part of the government’s intensive scrutiny of the remote Xinjiang region"
    QuantumPhysics and lexster like this.
  8. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 2,008   +1,540

    Meh, I already have Google on my phone, it's the same thing.
  9. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 895   +428

    Thats not cool, more sanctions please. They shouldnt be allowed to enter civilized society while they do this.
    And yea, this isnt the worst part, the worst part is how they treat their religious minorities including those that are Muslim.
    Seriously, Chine is a wonderland. With incredible growth they still managed to drug
    an encient faith of communism and dictatorship into 21st century. Thats simply
    amazing, in a bad way.
  10. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,537   +3,915

    Another great reason not to visit China, not to share your tourist dollars and spend your time traveling the USA. Plenty to see and no better reason to get started today!
  11. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,389   +1,020

    I'd rather spend my tourist dollars in China than Alabama.
  12. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,389   +1,020

    Tell all that to the president who is narrowly trying to avoid initiating a trade war while simultaeously kissing up to to a murderous dictator who is part of China's buffer zone.
  13. Mr Majestyk

    Mr Majestyk TS Addict Posts: 171   +132

    Ha ha, any sane person would also avoid the USA like the plague too. Under uber Fuhrer Herr Dumbf's rule USA has slid to new lows. It's almost as toxic as China and Russia. Now Canada on the other hand there's a nice country to visit.
    Gypsygib likes this.
  14. Knot Schure

    Knot Schure TS Addict Posts: 281   +119

    Hello from Shanghai. That 'region' seems to be getting everything it deserves.

    Normally I'm VERY privacy oriented, but China (and us too), has a problem it needs to fix, and doesn't give a toss what you think about it.

    Sure, don't go, but if you *need* to go there, don't be surprised that an Islamic schithole region has extra 'security precautions'.

    For once, I've go no problem with government overt spying.
  15. MaXtor

    MaXtor TS Maniac Posts: 254   +199

    I guess the keyword there is "visit," unless you want to pay as much as 60% income tax for "free" health care (depending on the province).
  16. robb213

    robb213 TS Evangelist Posts: 348   +114

    Country =/= state

    But yes, whether you live in the US or are just visiting, Alabama is the only place anyone is allowed to visit /s

    While I agree he's a bumbling oaf with severe old man syndrome and is causing chaos, he did not murder 6 million Jews. And if you tune out of the news, a lot of ordinary people are just living their lives without any local chaos. It's no more safe than visiting London, Berlin, Delhi, Rome, etc.

    And Canada has its own issues too. I'm a dual-citizen. There's discontent or chaos in most of the world in one form or another.
    Shadowboxer likes this.
  17. Gypsygib

    Gypsygib TS Rookie Posts: 23   +8

    This may be a moronic question but how exactly is the app being installed?
  18. dogofwars

    dogofwars TS Addict Posts: 197   +76

    Well they certainly need Canadian there, look what they did to those two Canadians, they can use them as political exchange. :/
    lexster likes this.
  19. Shadowboxer

    Shadowboxer TS Addict Posts: 262   +114

    Yeah I will definitely not be visiting China again. The country is backwards as hell. I went last year and found it incredibly depressing. I’m reading a book about human anthropological history and the author states he believes that factory workers in modern China have the worst quality of life of any human ever to walk the planet. I can see why with the suicide nets, poor pay, no time off, monotonous job.

    American citizens are infinitely better off and enjoy way more liberty and quality of life than the Chinese do. And this is with or without Trump. I’d pick the American governors over Chinese governors every single day of the week. I’d pick Google over this app too. Although I do try and avoid google services as much as I can.
  20. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,098   +3,655

    This is factually incorrect


    In fact their tax brackets are better then America's and that's not even considering the cost of healthcare added onto that you have to pay as an American. In addition, Canada delivers healthcare at about 1/3rd the cost of America. Heck, with the money saved you could afford private health insurance that provides additional benefits.
  21. MaXtor

    MaXtor TS Maniac Posts: 254   +199

    That is only federal income tax at 33% as the top bracket. You also need to pay provincial income tax, in Quebec for example the top bracket is 25.75%. That makes a combined income tax of 58.75%, you're right, I rounded up by 1.25%.


    As for medicare cost to the average Canadian, it tends to be only slightly less than what the average American pays. However the service is not comparible. If you enjoy waiting 12 hours at the hospital for a 5 minute visit with a doctor, then I guess that's fine. Of course as a Canadian who lives in Montreal, my experience is based on our overcrowded hospitals. I pay for private health care while still being taxed for public health care, I pay significantly more than the average American.
  22. Markoni35

    Markoni35 TS Addict Posts: 266   +115

    LOL, this is funny. Do you have Viber, Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal, Slack or any similar messaging app on your phone? Congratulations! Then you already have a spying app installed.

    Oh, wait, you're not using IM apps. Good for you. Do you have the Android operating system installed on your phone. You do? Then you still have a spying app installed.

    At least Chinese tell you when they spy on you. Those others spy on you without asking and then pretend it's not happening. I like the Chinese approach. It's more honest. Just like their 2-children depopulation policy. Clean, clearly communicated, logical. Vulcan style.
  23. Mike BE

    Mike BE TS Rookie

    From reading the article, I believe that the authorities take your phone from you as you pass through border control. It's not a request. When you enter China, you are subject to Chinese law.
  24. Mike BE

    Mike BE TS Rookie

    I would think that North Korea would be worse.

    No matter, if you would rather kill yourself than go to work then your life sucks because you have lost all hope.
  25. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 556   +272

    Your whole statement clearly show how little you understand the Android OS, how apps work and the nasty aspect of the Chinese government.

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