Beware the WeChat Spy

On 16/08/2013 by Site Default

WeChat, Tencent’s smartphone messaging application, could someday eclipse Weibo in popularity. UnlikeWeibo messages are private; groups are by invitation only. With this built-in sense of privacy, as well as availability in multiple languages, WeChat is now the world’s fifth most used smartphone app.

But WeChat is not as private as it seems. Last December, human rights activist Hu Jia reported that Domestic Security Department officials quoted “verbatim” WeChat voicemails he had sent to friends. WeChat can also block messages containing certain keywords, as it likely did this January during protests at the Southern Weekly newspaper. WeChat claimed messages with the words “Southern Weekly” or its Chinese counterpart (南方周末) were unable to be sent due to a “technical glitch.”…

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