Xinjiang

When contracting with Chinese manufacturers, it's very hard to avoid forced labor

The China Law Blog (previously) is one of my favorite sources of insight into the secret workings of the businesses that produce the majority of the world's daily-use goods. Read the rest

Rating the 30 most evil tech companies

Slate compiled a list of the 30 most evil companies in tech, starting with Mspy (#30) all the way up to Amazon (#1). I weighed in on Oracle (#17, "It takes a lot to make me feel like Google is being victimized by a bully, but Oracle managed it") and Apple (#6, "Apple won’t spy on you for ads, but they’ll help the Chinese government spy on its citizens to keep its supply chain intact"). Read the rest

Tiktok took less than a day to settle parents' lawsuit over spying on their kids

Yesterday Bytedance, the company that acquired the tween-centric app Musica.ly and relaunched it as Tiktok, was been sued by a parents' group for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by gathering, storing, and selling private information about their children. Today, they settled the case on terms that have not been disclosed. Read the rest

Apple poses a false dichotomy between "privacy" and "competition"

Back in September, a Congressional committee investigating anticompetitive conduct by America's tech giants sent a letter to Apple (among other Big Tech firms) asking it for details of business practices that seem nakedly anticompetitive; Apple's response seeks to justify much of that conduct by saying that it is essential to protecting its users' privacy. Read the rest

US teen's TikTok video on China's Muslim camps (and beauty tips) goes viral

An American teenager's clever TikTok video managed to sneak in banned commentary on the topic of China's concentration camps and torture programs for Uighur Muslims. The teen's video was bookended with beauty tips, and went viral with 1.4M+ views and ~500,000 likes. Many copycats. China didn't like it. Read the rest

Networked authoritarianism may contain the seeds of its own undoing

James Scott's 1998 classic Seeing Like a State describes how governments shoehorn the governed into countable, manageable ways of living and working so that they can be counted and steered by state bureaucracies. Political scientist Henry Farrell (previously) discusses how networked authoritarianism is touted by its advocates as a way of resolving the problems of state-like seeing, because if a state spies on people enough and allows machine-learning systems to incorporate their behavior and respond to it, it is possible to create "a more efficient competitor that can beat democracy at its home game" -- providing for everyone's needs better than a democracy could. Read the rest

Leaked documents document China's plan for mass arrests and concentration-camp internment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published five leaked Chinese intelligence memos -- a lengthy "telegram" and four shorter "bulletins" -- from 2017, which detail the plans to enact a program of mass incarceration for members of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities (especially Uyghurs) in China's Xinjiang province. Read the rest

Massive leak of Chinese government documents reveal the "no mercy" plan for Muslims in Xinjiang

The New York Times has received a 403-page leak of internal Chinese state documents related to the ethnic cleansing effort in Xinjiang province, which has seen the creation of more than 500 concentration camps where Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities have been subjected to torture, rape and medical experimentation. Read the rest

Hong Kong protests: "Might as well go down fighting"

Zeynep Tufekci (previously) has been in Hong Kong reporting on the protests for months, and she's witnessed firsthand the failure of every prediction that the uprising would end soon -- but despite the mounting numbers and militancy of protesters, she reports that the protesters are not animated by hope or optimism, but rather, a fatalistic understanding that they will lose eventually, and a determination to go down fighting. Read the rest

China has 500+ Uighur camps and prisons and is holding far more than one million, activists say

On Tuesday, advocates for human rights for China's Uighur minority said they have documented 500 camps and prisons in China run by the government to detain people identified as belonging to that targeted ethnic group. Read the rest

Muslim woman who escaped from a Chinese concentration camp describes gang-rapes, torture, forced medical experiments

Sayragul Sauytbay is a Chinese Muslim of Kazakh descent who escaped en route to one of the notorious Xinjiang province concentration camps for Muslims in 2018, after she was sentenced to serve as a regular inmate following her release after more than a year's incarceration as a camp teacher; after she escaped into Kazakhstan, she was given asylum in Sweden. Read the rest

Tiktok has become a vital tool for monitoring abuses against Xinjiang Uyghurs, but that's threatened by the company's new censorship rules

Tiktok (formerly Musica.ly) is the massively popular, $75b social media sensation primarily used for short lip-sync clips with high-precision choreography and endlessly inventive special effects and video techniques. Read the rest

Son of Ghostnet: the mobile malware that targets Tibetans abroad

Citizen Lab (previously) is one of the world's top research institutions documenting cyber-attacks against citizen groups, human rights activists, journalists and others; ten years ago, they made their reputation by breaking a giant story about "Ghostnet," malicious software that the Chinese state used to convert the computers of the world's Tibetan embassies into spying devices. Read the rest

Authenticating a video showing hundreds of kneeling people in shackles and blindfolds on a Chinese railroad platform

Last week, a drone video showing hundreds of people in China being shackled and blindfolded and made to kneel on a train platform went viral; a piece of amazing digital detective work by Nathan Ruser presents a compelling case that the video is real, and that it was recorded in August 2018 near the city of Korla in Xinjiang province, where the Chinese state has been prosecuting a vicious, genocidal ethnic cleansing campaign against the predominantly Muslim Uyghur people. Read the rest

Tiktok is valued at $75b, is spending $3m/day on US advertising, and in China, it has been turned into a state propaganda vehicle

It's been a year since Chinese social media giant Bytedance relaunched its super-popular app Musica.ly as Tiktok; the company is now valued at $75b, and in the USA it has become a serious challenge to US-based social media companies, courting a young audience (so young that it's getting into legal hot water over it). Read the rest

Chinese authorities are secretly installing their anti-Uyghur surveillance app on the phones of tourists to Xinjiang province

Back in 2017, Chinese authorities in Xinjiang began stopping members of the Uyghur ethnic minority and forcing them to install spyware on their phones: it marked an intensification of the country's crackdown on Uyghur's and other ethnic/religious minorities, which acquired a new technological fervor: next came the nonconsensual collection of the DNA of every person in Xinjiang, then the creation of torture camps designed to brainwash Uyghurs out of their Islamic faith, and then a full blown surveillance smart-city rollout that turned the cities of the region into open-air prisons. Read the rest

Microsoft takes down MS Celeb facial recognition database, 10 million+ pics of ~100,000 faces, maybe yours, scraped under Creative Commons

Military research and Chinese firms had access to the data Microsoft scraped under Creative Commons licenses.

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