Canadian activist group Citizen Lab, with the help of an article in the New York Times, has blown the lid off the newest Chinese censorship scandal: the government of China is eavesdropping on, and in some cases intercepting, text messages sent via the Skype network.
Users in China access Skype through Tom-Skype, which is a partnership between eBay-owned Skype, and Chinese ISP TOM Online.
It’s been known for some time that the Chinese Golden Shield Project (a nice euphemism for “muzzle our citizens”, and sometimes called The Great Firewall of China), owned by China’s Ministry of Public Security , employs thousands of ‘Internet policeman’ who sift through Internet traffic looking for forbidden topics and words.
|Get notified of new Internet Patrol articles for free!
|Or Read Internet Patrol Articles Right in Your Inbox!
as Soon as They are Published! Only $1 a Month!
Imagine being able to read full articles right in your email, or on your phone, without ever having to click through to the website unless you want to! Just $1 a month and you can cancel at any time!
But until now, it was believed – based in large part on assurances from Skype executives – that other than some somewhat standard Chinese filtering mechanisms, the Skype messages were secure.
Not so, says Citizen Lab. Citizen Lab has discovered a cluster of 8 computers which are monitoring the Skype-TOM messages, and which are harbouring more than a million such messages which have been censored for containing words and phrases like “Falun Gong”, democracy, earthquake, and milk powder.
According to Citizen Lab, the Chinese computers also retain the personal information of senders of the messages, and record chats that TOM-Skype users have with Skype users outside of China.
No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free? Thank you!
|Get notified of new Internet Patrol articles!