The Chinese Communist Party has reportedly raised a "50-Cent Army" of astroturfers who are paid RMB0.50 for each patriotic, pro-Chinese comment they post on blogs and social media sites. Some estimates have the size of the army at 300,000 people.
Comments, rumours and opinions can be quickly spread between internet groups in a way that makes it hard for the government to censor.
China's internet 'spin doctors'
So instead of just trying to prevent people from having their say, the government is also attempting to change they way they think.
To do this, they use specially trained - and ideologically sound - internet commentators.
They have been dubbed the "50-cent party" because of how much they are reputed to be paid for each positive posting (50 Chinese cents; $0.07; £0.05).
As the UK government passes increasingly far-reaching surveillance laws that bind companies to capture, store and share data on their customers’ activities, US tech giants like Facebook and Google are caught in a dilemma: much of what the UK government demands of them, the US government prohibits.
It’s not just dissident Hong Kong booksellers who’re being snatched — China’s snatch-squads have kidnapped expatriate dissidents (including those with foreign passports) from Sweden, Burma and Thailand.
Historically, US companies have been able to get around the (relatively stringent) European data-protection rules thanks to a “Safe Harbor” agreement between the US and the EU — but Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy activist, has successfully argued that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs violate European law and invalidates the Safe Harbor.
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Remember back to the time when people thought java was just a hip way to talk about coffee? Or you vaguely remembered from geography class that it’s an island in the South Pacific? We’ve come a long way since then and now that we’ve rocket blasted into the tech future, you’re going to need to […]
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