The Unimax U686CL is a cheap Android phone distributed in the USA by Virgin subsidiary Assurance Wireless as part of its federally subsidized Lifeline program, which is available to low-income Americans. Read the rest
Ross LaJeunesse left Google last April after he advocated within the company for years for a human rights program that formalize free speech and privacy principles. Read the rest
The US Navy has issued a policy banning the social media app TikTok from government-issued mobile devices, saying the China-owned video messaging service is a “cybersecurity threat.” Read the rest
"China flight systems jammed by pig farm’s African swine fever defences." That headline from the South China Morning Post sums up this strange story. Gangs in China reportedly send drones to drop material infected with Swine Flu on pig farms. Then, the gangs buy the meat on the cheap and sell it to unwitting customers. (Swine flu rarely passes to humans.) From the South China Morning Post:
The farm, in northeastern China, was ordered last month to turn in an unauthorised anti-drone device installed to prevent criminal gangs dropping items infected with the disease, according to online news portal Thepaper.cn.
The device came to light after a series of flights to and from Harbin airport complained about losing GPS signals while flying over Zhaozhou county in Heilongjiang in late October. In some cases, the ADS-B tracking technology – which determines an aircraft’s position via satellite navigation – failed.
(via Daily Grail)
Well, this is weird. Read the rest
Fudan University, one of China's elite centers of higher learning, has had its charter altered to remove "freedom of thought" from its values. In its place, the charter now promotes "arming the minds of teachers and students with Xi Jinping's new era of socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics." In response, students have launched a protest in the form of performances of the school song, which touts "academic independence and freedom of thought." Read the rest
Bunnie Huang (previously) is a legendary hardware hacker, and one of his claims to fame are his annual trips to Shenzhen -- China's electronics manufacturing hub -- with groups of MIT students to show them how electronic production actually works in the field, both so they can design projects with that reality in mind, and so that they can get an appreciation of what's happening behind the scenes when they order parts, tool up a line, or otherwise interact with the factories -- tiny and massive -- of the Pearl River Delta. Read the rest
The increasingly popular social media application TikTok has a concerning relationship with the Chinese state. That link became ever the more concerning today, when reports began circulating of a brand new partnership between the company that owns TikTok, ByteDance, and the government of China. Read the rest
Just in time for the holidays, the China Law Blog (previously) rounds up the three most common scams in China that target foreign firms: "Come to China and celebrate our deal" (foreign business person concludes a deal, goes to China, and is roped into paying for a banquet, gifts for the Chinese company boss, and filing fees -- there is no deal); "New bank account" (foreign business is told that an existing supplier has changed banks, wires payments to a fraudster); "Fake company" (a fraudster offers to register copyrights/trademarks/patents in China and just disappears with the cash -- or strings along the mark for ever-larger sums, concluding with fake evidence of registration that leaves the target company vulnerable to future counterfeiting). Read the rest
The Chinese Supreme People’s Court has just released a report on a "mobile court" pilot program that's been running since March to manage procedures in civil legal disputes through the Wechat social media platform, through which litigants are prompted by an AI chatbot "judge" (with a judicial avatar) to state their cases; the evidence is entered into the blockchain. Read the rest
Aliexpress has lots of these little gadgets that rock a phone back-and-forth to fool the pedometer into thinking you are walking on a treadmill. They cost about $2.
Why? "Some insurance companies in China allow people who consistently reach a certain daily step count to get discounted health insurance premiums," writes Matthew Brennan.
Chinese phone cradle for boosting your phone's daily step count. Some insurance companies in China allow people who consistently reach a certain daily step count to get discounted health insurance premiums. pic.twitter.com/pJFBSYqdlb
— Matthew Brennan (@mbrennanchina) May 14, 2019
Lao Dongyan is a professor specializing in Criminal Law at Tsinghua University; on Oct 31, she posted a long, thoughtful piece to their public Wechat account about the announcement that Beijing's metro system will soon deploy facial recognition to "improve efficiency of passenger traffic." Prof Lao makes a smart, thorough argument against this, drawing on both China's rule of law, international privacy norms, and lack of meaningful consent. Read the rest
"Fight the Traitors Together" (motto: "Hong Kong is part of China and this can't be meddled with by outside power") is a web-game that has attained new popularity in mainland China; it invites players to locate with caricatures of real Hong Kong protest leaders and slap them or pelt them with rotten eggs. Read the rest
Today, 800,000 Hong Kongers marched through the city in a demonstration commemorating their six months of protests. Thanks to landslide victories for pro-Democracy candidates in last month's election, today's march had an official police permit -- the first such permit issued since August. Read the rest
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
Ken Liu went from university to a software engineering job at Microsoft, then to some startups, then to Harvard Law, where he got a JD and went into practice as a litigation consultant on tech cases -- all the while, writing and selling sf stories. Read the rest