Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 1st Feb 2018 19:29 UTC
Internet & Networking

China's most popular messaging app, WeChat, has always had a close relationship with the Chinese government. The app has been subsidized by the government since its creation in 2011, and it's an accepted reality that officials censor and monitor users. Now, WeChat is poised to take on an even greater role: an initiative is underway to integrate WeChat with China's electronic ID system.

WeChat is a remarkably clever move by the Chinese government. Everybody over there is already using it, and by basically co-opting it, they get a free statewide monitoring and control platform. Ban a few western alternatives here and there, and you're done. Western nations are toying with similar ideas - see e.g. Germany's new laws - and it doesn't take a genius to see the dangers here. While you may 'trust' your current government to not abuse such wide-ranging laws and technical capabilities, you might not be so eager with the next one. If Americans can vote for a Trump, Europeans can, too.

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Choose your poison
by shepherdr on Thu 1st Feb 2018 20:31 UTC
Member since:

I fail to see the connection between WeChat and the BBC link about new German rules. Nor do I see the validity of the warning about trusting your current government but the next might not be so benevolent.

The Chinese do not chose their government - they are not a liberal democracy. The Chinese government is not voted in by the people. The government also imposes restrictions (such as birth control) and censorship on the lives of the population. However this is not a lesson to be learned for the future decisions the West might take - China is not an example of a democracy that has been corrupted by bad mistakes in electing governments or allowing laws in the past that resulted in the current situation. China has evolved from a more repressive feudal state to what it is now - it has not degenerated from a more liberal society.

The German law says that ISPs or social media services must take down posts which contravene hate speech laws that already exist. It is illegal in Germany to express these thoughts in public.

In the UK hate speech is also illegal as are crimes such as incitement and libel. I see nothing wrong with that nor the expectation that ISPs or social media networks should take down posts which contravene these laws.

The US 1st amendment protects the freedom of speech but that does not apply to all countries - nor should it - some countries to a greater or lesser extent have CHOSEN to allow their government representatives to outlaw some types of expression. I have seen videos of Americans burning effigies of gay people on marches right in front of the police while chanting "Jesus this and Jesus that" "burn the gays" etc etc and they are immune to prosecution.

I personally like a bit of suppression of free expression.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Choose your poison
by Tony Swash on Thu 1st Feb 2018 23:58 in reply to "Choose your poison"
Tony Swash Member since:

If you want to find out about a truly horrifying, scary and giant Chinese government project just read this article from Wired entitled "Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens". The scope of the Chinese government's ambitions and plans to control its citizens are staggering.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Choose your poison
by shepherdr on Fri 2nd Feb 2018 00:49 in reply to "RE: Choose your poison"
shepherdr Member since:

Okay, China plans to monitor and rate their citizens. All very 1984 but how is this a lesson or warning for the readers of OSnews who all seem to come from liberal western democracies? What happens in China or North Korea or the old Soviet Republic are not lessons for us. They did not get to where they are through a corruption of a previously wholesome democracy.

I don't live in any of these places so I have no idea whether the control or surveillance exhibited by the state improves or worsens the lives of the people (if indeed the state even cares to about this) in those countries. I do know that overturning dictatorships in the name of democracy does lead to severe suffering (at least in the short term) in countries whose mere survival is tenuous and relies upon the rule of a dictator just to hold them together.

To suggest enacting laws which ban hate speech in Western countries amounts to the suppression of the right to free speech which will then in turn lead every civilized western democracy down an inexorable path to hegemony seems about a gazillion steps too far.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Choose your poison
by MichaelH on Sat 3rd Feb 2018 08:21 in reply to "Choose your poison"
MichaelH Member since:

Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Frankly, I want to know who the "burn the gays" folks are so I can keep my shotguns pointed at them.

Reply Parent Score: 1