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.

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Double standards?
by karunko on Mon 25th Sep 2017 20:20 UTC
karunko
Member since:
2008-10-28

I don't get it: is censorship good or bad? When China does it, it's bad. When Spain does it, it's bad. But, when some alt right web site gets kicked off the web then it's suddenly right?

Don't get me wrong: I have no sympathy at all for alt right (and in fact despise them and everything they stand for) but I still think that there is no good censorship. Or, as the EFF (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/08/fighting-neo-nazis-future-free...) puts it:

"Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected. We do it because we believe that no one — not the government and not private commercial enterprises— should decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t."


RT.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Double standards?
by project_2501 on Mon 25th Sep 2017 20:47 in reply to "Double standards?"
project_2501 Member since:
2006-03-20

let me make it clear for you

freedom of speech does NOT include freedom to incite hatred and violence or threaten others

libel laws are similar

does that make sense yet?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Double standards?
by acobar on Mon 25th Sep 2017 21:23 in reply to "RE: Double standards?"
acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

freedom of speech does NOT include freedom to incite hatred and violence or threaten others

So, instead of blocking them, the responsible should be prosecuted, charged and face the consequences. Just banning a priori is not a proper response and no business should be allowed to do it. It is the same thing when some business discriminate against a consumer on racist, religious or politics nut basis.

If you want to have use cases rules, they must be known and exposed beforehand so that they can be challenged in court when needed and be used as binding contracts.

As a side note, this (use cases) is what many ISP are using to recuse to provide their goods.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Double standards?
by FlyingJester on Mon 25th Sep 2017 21:22 in reply to "Double standards?"
FlyingJester Member since:
2016-05-11

There's a difference from a web host refusing to host a website (you can get around this legally by hosting it elsewhere, or hosting it yourself), and a government banning a program (it's illegal to get around this).

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Double standards?
by avgalen on Tue 26th Sep 2017 14:35 in reply to "Double standards?"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

As others said, there is a difference between
A) 1 company or 1 person refusing to serve you based on criteria that you agreed with while signing up for their product/service/friendship
B) your countries government doing the same for something that isn't illegal.

If you come to my house and start to say things that I don't like I will tell you to leave and you have to leave. Freedom means you can say offensive things to me, it doesn't mean I have to like it or that there will be no consequences!
If you visit a library/cinema with a big "silence" sign hung up by management you will have to be silent otherwise they can remove you
If you sign up for a forum or webhoster that has a "say nice things"-policy you will have to say nice things or you might get kicked of the forum/webhost.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Double standards?
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 26th Sep 2017 20:48 in reply to "Double standards?"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't get it: is censorship good or bad? When China does it, it's bad. When Spain does it, it's bad. But, when some alt right web site gets kicked off the web then it's suddenly right?


Web hosts and domain registrars are not (last I checked) the same thing as the federal governments of sovereign nations, and don't have the same level of power to censor or suppress speech that nations possess. Web hosts & domain registrars are also private entities (excepting some national/CCTLD registries) and in most jurisdictions, they are perfectly within their legal rights to say "This is our sandbox, we make the rules, and you can either follow them or GTFO." That's why, for example, AOL never ran into any free speech-related legal troubles - despite being infamous for having a ridiculously-draconian TOS.

Don't get me wrong: I have no sympathy at all for alt right (and in fact despise them and everything they stand for) but I still think that there is no good censorship. Or, as the EFF (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/08/fighting-neo-nazis-future-free.....) puts it:

"Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected. We do it because we believe that no one — not the government and not private commercial enterprises— should decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t."


I completely agree with the principles espoused in that quote - but I don't think they actually apply to this particular situation. In the case of a commercial hosting provider/registrar booting a customer they don't want to associate with, that is NOT "decid[ing] who gets to speak and who doesn't" - at least not any more so then when, say, a mail server administrator sets up filters to block mail from a persistent source of spam.

Speaking of spam, much of the discourse over this issue frankly reminds me of a proto-meme from NANAE (the news.admin.net-abuse.email): "Frea Speach" - which was a derisive, deliberate misspelling meant to lampoon spammers who argued that bombarding networks/people with unwanted advertisements was somehow protected by free speech laws.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News.admin.net-abuse.email#NANAEisms

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Double standards?
by zima on Sat 30th Sep 2017 20:11 in reply to "Double standards?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Spain?

Reply Parent Score: 2