China says WhatsApp should stop spread of `illegal information'
China has hit out at Facebook.’s WhatsApp, saying the messaging service should act to stop the spread of “illegal information” as the country seeks greater scrutiny over the internet in the run-up to its once-in-five years Communist Party congress.
WhatsApp should take proactive measures to intercept information to do with violence and terror, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement in response to questions from Bloomberg News. China has the authority to tell institutions to take these measures, said the agency, without specifying details of content it considered illegal.
“A country’s cyberspace sovereignty should be protected,” it added.
The response comes as China is seen to be tightening the screws on WhatsApp, which has until recently been one of the only remaining major messaging services to operate unfettered in the country.
Beijing has been employing cutting-edge surveillance technology to disrupt the messaging service as part of a longer-term online crackdown, according to Nadim Kobeissi, a cryptographer at Paris-based online security firm Symbolic Software. The interference -- which saw WhatsApp’s service interrupted across China at the weekend before it was resumed -- marks a step up from July, when local users began experiencing sporadic issues sending images and voice messages.
The government has slapped fines on media and technology companies for failing to screen content, shuttered celebrity gossip sites, and punished chat-group administrators on Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat service for hosting sensitive content. The congress, which is due to get under way on Oct. 18, will see a twice-a-decade reshuffle of the party leadership.
“China’s Internet is fully open,” the administration said. “We welcome internet companies from various countries to provide Chinese internet users with good information services.”
- ‘I’m just ordinary man now’: Setya collects debts from friends to pay restitutio...
- Sri Lanka train kills mother elephant, two calves
- Florence death toll jumps to 31 as flooding wreaks havoc
- Trump hits China with tariffs on another $200b in goods
- Prosecutors call for Jambi rape victim to be punished to deter abortion
- Indonesia must improve its e-government
- Indian bishop accused of raping nun steps aside as arrest calls grow
- Payment of 'uang ketok palu' is tradition, councilors admit to corruption court
- Here are 10 of the most populated cities in the world
- Trump defends Supreme Court pick after sex assault allegation