Brookings: A brief experiment in a more open Chinese web

Brookings: A brief experiment in a more open Chinese web. “On Oct. 9, a company backed by China’s largest cybersecurity company, Qihoo 360, released Tuber, an app for Android in China that enabled the browsing of content outside the Great Firewall, including banned sites like Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Netflix. A blurb on the app’s dedicated webpage noted that ‘Tuber has passed the review of relevant competent authorities and obtained an online operating license.'”

Voice of America: Chinese Authorities Punish Citizens for Using Foreign Social Media

Voice of America: Chinese Authorities Punish Citizens for Using Foreign Social Media. “Chinese Communist Party officials appear to be increasing their harassment and punishment of Chinese internet users who publish on foreign social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. China’s government firewall blocks access to those sites, but users can use VPNs and other technology to circumvent it.”

BBC: China to clamp down on internet giants

BBC: China to clamp down on internet giants. “China has proposed new regulations aimed at curbing the power of its biggest internet companies. The regulations suggest increasing unease in Beijing with the growing influence of digital platforms. The new rules could affect homegrown tech giants like Alibaba, Ant Group and Tencent, as well as food delivery platform Meituan.”

Al Jazeera: How social media regulations are silencing dissent in Africa

Al Jazeera: How social media regulations are silencing dissent in Africa. “Through social media platforms, the #EndSARS activists not only managed to call thousands of Nigerians to action and hold Nigerian authorities to account, but also garnered unprecedented international attention and support for their cause. The fact that a burgeoning human rights movement has been contemplated, created and sustained online did not go unnoticed in the overwhelmingly conservative halls of power in Nigeria. Shaken to the core by this new media phenomenon and its astounding proclivity to galvanise a traditionally silenced and disregarded youthful majority, some Nigerian state governors and public officials started to demand that social media be regulated.”

CNN: TikTok exec says she ‘misspoke’ in hearing about the app censoring Xinjiang content

CNN: TikTok exec says she ‘misspoke’ in hearing about the app censoring Xinjiang content. “TikTok censored videos related to incidents in Xinjiang to avoid promoting conflict, an executive at the short-form video app told UK lawmakers this week. [This is the statement referred to when Ms. Kanter says she misspoke.] The statement came during a hearing held Thursday by the United Kingdom’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, which grilled Elizabeth Kanter, the company’s director of government relations and public policy for UK, Ireland and Israel, over TikTok’s links to China.”

Financial Post: Sandvine’s Technology Used for Web Censoring in More Than a Dozen Nations

Financial Post: Sandvine’s Technology Used for Web Censoring in More Than a Dozen Nations. “In Jordan, Sandvine Inc.’s equipment was used to censor an LGBTQ website. Egypt’s government relied on Sandvine equipment to block access to independent news sites. In Azerbaijan, it was deployed for a social media blackout, current and former employees say.Last month, U.S. -based Sandvine, which is owned by the private equity firm Francisco Partners, said it would stop selling its equipment in Belarus after Bloomberg News reported that it was used to censor the internet during a crucial election.”

Editorial: HKFP launches permanent digital archive of the History Museum’s ‘Hong Kong Story’(Hong Kong Free Press)

Hong Kong Free Press: Editorial: HKFP launches permanent digital archive of the History Museum’s ‘Hong Kong Story’. “On October 18, 2020, hundreds of Hongkongers queued for hours to pay a visit to the city’s History Museum. It was its last day before the permanent exhibition ‘Hong Kong Story’ closed for an extensive two-year revamp. There were fears that the new displays may censor or exclude politically sensitive events such as the city’s colonial history and its relationship with China….Ahead of the closure, HKFP paid a visit in order to capture a visual archive of the exhibit.”

Voice of America: App Allowing Chinese Citizens to Access Global Internet Quickly Disappears

Voice of America: App Allowing Chinese Citizens to Access Global Internet Quickly Disappears. “A mobile app launched last week in China that many there hoped would allow access to long banned Western social media sites abruptly disappeared from Chinese app stores a day after its unveiling.”

Politico: Trump officials interfered with CDC reports on Covid-19

Politico: Trump officials interfered with CDC reports on Covid-19. “The health department’s politically appointed communications aides have demanded the right to review and seek changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly scientific reports charting the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports’ authors and water down their communications to health professionals.”

PC Magazine: As Virus Spread, China Ramped Up Keyword Censorship on Social Media

PC Magazine: As Virus Spread, China Ramped Up Keyword Censorship on Social Media. “In March, The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto found that Chinese social media app WeChat and live-streaming app YY had been censoring coronavirus-related keywords since Dec. 31. In a follow-up report released this week, Citizen Lab found that efforts to thwart criticism have continued, with a particular focus on stamping out international criticism of the Chinese government. As the virus hit the US, meanwhile, China also moved to block ‘conspiracy theories, US criticism of China’s political system, critical and neutral references to China-US relations, and US domestic politics,’ The Citizen Lab says.”

Washington Post: Erdogan’s crackdown on social media is nearing its end game

Washington Post: Erdogan’s crackdown on social media is nearing its end game. “We have arrived at a moment of truth for Google and Twitter. They are now being forced to choose between oppressive Turkish laws and freedom of speech. If they opt for compromise, they can follow the new law by dispatching representatives to Ankara, which will give Erdogan crucial leverage over them in future disputes. If the companies decide in favor of freedom of speech, refusing to censor content at the government’s behest, the government will have the power, under the new law, to almost entirely block the Internet traffic of these platforms. In that case, we will have to find a new way out of our game of whack-a-mole.”

Motherboard: US Army Reinstates Twitch Commenters It Banned for Asking About War Crimes

Motherboard: US Army Reinstates Twitch Commenters It Banned for Asking About War Crimes. “After a pause from streaming, the U.S. Army esports team is returning to Twitch and reinstating accounts it had previously banned. ‘The U.S. Army eSports Team is reinstating access for accounts previously banned for harassing and degrading behavior on its Twitch stream,’ the Army told Motherboard in an email.”

South China Morning Post: A new anticensorship tool from GreatFire turns any website into an unblocked app in China

Must admit I’m a little surprised to see this from the South China Morning Post, but from the South China Morning Post: A new anticensorship tool from GreatFire turns any website into an unblocked app in China. “There are plenty of anticensorship tools designed to help people hop China’s Great Firewall. But a new one called the GreatFire AppMaker is designed specifically for content creators. The creators of the tool say it enables any blocked media outlet, blogger, human rights group or civil society organisation to get their content onto the phones of Chinese users. The tool doesn’t just work for China, either. GreatFire, a group of activists who monitor censorship in China, says it also works in other countries where the content is blocked.”

ABC News (Australia): UNSW under fire for deleting social media posts critical of China over Hong Kong

ABC News (Australia): UNSW under fire for deleting social media posts critical of China over Hong Kong. “The official [University of New South Wales] account on Friday tweeted an article that quoted Human Rights Watch’s Australia director and adjunct law lecturer Elaine Pearson as saying: ‘Now is a pivotal moment to bring attention to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Hong Kong’. Several hours later, a further tweet was posted by UNSW reading: ‘The opinions expressed by our academics do not always represent the views of UNSW.'”

Techdirt: Fan Uses AI Software To Lipread What Actors Really Said In TV Series Before Chinese Authorities Censored Them

Techdirt: Fan Uses AI Software To Lipread What Actors Really Said In TV Series Before Chinese Authorities Censored Them. “The AI technology involved using Google’s Facemesh package, which can track key ‘landmarks’ on faces in images and videos. By analyzing the lip movements, it is possible to predict the sounds of a Chinese syllable. However, there is a particular problem that makes it hard to lipread Chinese using AI. There are many homophones in Chinese (similar sounds, different meanings). In order to get around this problem, [Eury] Chen explored the possible sequences of Chinese characters to find the ones that best match the plot at that point. As his blog post (and the ChinAI translation) explains, this allowed him to work out why certain lines were blocked by the Chinese authorities — turns out it was for totally petty reasons.”