Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 25th Sep 2017 18:51 UTC
Internet & Networking

China has largely blocked the WhatsApp messaging app, the latest move by Beijing to step up surveillance ahead of a big Communist Party gathering next month.

The disabling in mainland China of the Facebook-owned app is a setback for the social media giant, whose chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has been pushing to re-enter the Chinese market, and has been studying the Chinese language intensively. WhatsApp was the last of Facebook products to still be available in mainland China; the company's main social media service has been blocked in China since 2009, and its Instagram image-sharing app is also unavailable.

WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, which the Chinese government (and western governments) don't like. Either WhatsApp would give China a backdoor, or China would block WhatsApp. This seems to indicate WhatsApp stuck to its encryption.

Let's see what happens to the other big western messaging service with end-to-end encryption still available in China: iMessage. We can safely assume that if iMessage isn't blocked soon, Apple caved, and gave China its backdoor.

Thread beginning with comment 649248
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Doesn't necessarily follow
by darknexus on Mon 25th Sep 2017 19:05 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

Apple has interests in China, with Chinese manufacturers being their only real production facilities. Facebook does not and China has no incentive to accommodate them. I'm not saying Apple didn't cave, but your logic is faulty assuming that they did just because China hasn't blocked them yet. If Apple did, or does, give China a back door I've no doubt we'll find out about it sooner rather than later. I don't think they'd be stupid enough to be this publicly in favor of user privacy only to get caught doing a deal with China but, hey, I'm a network administrator not a businessman so what do I know? ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Doesn't necessarily follow
by flanque on Mon 25th Sep 2017 22:06 in reply to "Doesn't necessarily follow"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

It's very unlikely in my view.

Apple strongly protects their brand, which in my view has a material link to their stance on privacy. Imagine the damage to their reputation and stock price if they provided the backdoor and it became known. Disastrous.

I think it's far more likely that it's linked to things like Apple's investment in China, their skills at negotiation or perhaps more simply.. block WhatsApp, WeChat penetration rises - easier to backdoor that.

Reply Parent Score: 5

No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

As long as China doesn't publically state that they own a backdoor to iMessage, it's not going to damage Apple's reputation at all. It's like when the iPhone didn't have app support - it was all AT&T's fault. And when iTunes had DRM, that was all music industry's fault. When Foxconn's workers committed suicide in droves, at least Apple's workers had it better than everyone else.

None of this had any truth whatsoever, but Apple fanbois thought it plausible and repeated it as fact until it stopped being relevant. Apple doesn't need to protect their brand, as their fans will do it for them.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Doesn't necessarily follow
by nrlz on Wed 27th Sep 2017 05:20 in reply to "Doesn't necessarily follow"
nrlz Member since:
2006-01-27

Mark Zuckerberg, has been pushing to re-enter the Chinese market, and has been studying the Chinese language intensively.


I think no amount of sweet talking, even in their local language, can get around the request of the government to open up your data.

Reply Parent Score: 2