The BBC in reporting today that a Chinese human rights advocate is being jailed for sending a tweet. The incident occurred last month when Cheng Jianping's fiancé (who is also a human rights advocate) sent a tweet insinuating that those protesting Japan's presence at the Shanghai Expo would make more impact is they just smashed Japan's pavilion space. Cheng retweeted this comment, adding the words "Charge, angry youth".
Ten days later she was in police custody and is now sentenced to one year of re-education through labor. The charge was "disrupting social order". The Chinese authorities keep a close eye on comments made on social networking sites like Twitter. Even though the site is officially blocked in mainland China, some people do find ways to access it.
Cheng Jianping's fiancé, Hua Chunhui is trying to get her released to serve her sentence at home, but the government has not budged.
According to National Defense Magazine, China's state-controlled telecommunications company hijacked 15 percent of all Internet traffic for a full 18 minutes in April. That might not sound like much, but consider that the hijacked traffic included data from U.S. military and civilian organizations, as well as that of U.S. allies.
If it's the fear of the unknown that gives you goosebumps, then perhaps scariest of all is that no one outside of China is authorized to disclose exactly what happened to the terabytes data once the traffic entered China. Did China eavesdrop on unprotected communications, like emails and IMs? Maybe they manipulated data, says Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee.
Hijacking data isn't anything new, and actually happens a few times a year, Alpervotich said. But what's startling about this particular incident is that the China Telecom managed to reroute all that data and send it back out without anyone noticing a disruption in service, whereas most past attempts resulted in data reaching a dead end.
Yahoo News is reporting today that as many as 1 million Chinese mobile phone users are infected with a new SMS trojan. The target operating system has not been mentioned in any of the reports (we'd guess Android or Symbian), but the effects of the virus are well reported. Once a phone is infected, it transmits the contact list to the virus authors, then begins sending out spam SMS messages to contacts with links leading to malware. It also sends messages to premium rate numbers. This has apparently racked up $300,000 bills in some cases.
To add insult to injury, the virus is masquerading as an antivirus app to lure in new victims. Chinese authorities have tracked down the company that allegedly made the antivirus app, but they claim no involvement with the trojan. They insist they are victims of the evil-doers as well.
As if things couldn't get worse, other malware authors have begun copying this virus to create their own mobile cash machines. The day might be coming when antivirus apps are an unavoidable necessity on smartphones.
It's long been known that the Chinese authorities don't take kindly to people using sites like Twitter and Facebook in the country. The possibility that people might anonymously congregate on these popular sites frightens them to such a degree that they are blocked by the so-called "Great Firewall". While traditional internet devices and services in China cannot access these and other sites, it looks like the 3G Amazon Kindle is capable of bypassing the Great Firewall.
The 3G version of the Kindle connects to Amazon's Whispernet to access web services. There appears to something about the routing, even using Chinese 3G networks, that allows the device to reach forbidden websites. The result is a thriving grey-market for the e-reader in mainland China. Amazon is not able to sell the Kindle direct to consumers.
One individual that resells Kindles in China claims to be selling over 300 devices per month. Chinese auction sites too are havens for illicit Kindle sales. The only drawback to this method is that the Kindle's web browser is not very pleasing to use, being on a slow device with an eInk screen. We'll have to wait and see if Chinese authorities find a way to block this as well.
The Chinese government is getting ready to launch a new national campaign aimed at cracking down on violations of intellectual property rights and the production and distribution of pirated and counterfeit software and movies, the Xinhua News Agency reports.
According to the report, the campaign will last about six months and target pirated publications, software products, DVDs, designs, and other copyrighted products, both at the production and distribution levels.
The Chinese government vowed to "mete out stern punishment to businesses involved in the import and export of such goods," though didn't elaborate what exactly that punishment might be.
While Google-China ties have devolved into what is effectively a glacial impasse, Android continues to move briskly in that country. It is fast catching on as the operating system of choice among Chinese manufacturers eager to enter the tablet market. Now, ZTE has chosen the open source platform for its maiden tablet. The ZTE Light is a 7-inch device that weighs around 400gm and supports both GSM and WCDMA standards. Although the Light's price still remains a mystery, it is expected to be an affordable alternative to tablets like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
If you're the type to fret over data security and government censorship, Google has your back with their new Transparency Report. The report is likely a response to the search giant's recent run-ins with the likes of China over blocking services and requesting user information. The Transparency Report is broken down into two sections, Government Requests, and Traffic.
The Government Requests section offers an interactive Google Map with flags in each country that data is available for. By zooming in, we can see the number of requests for each country, as well as various court orders for removal of content. The data on the map is currently only from the last year, but more could be added as time goes on.
The Traffic section consists of a graph showing the amount of data passed through Google over time. Users can choose the country and Google service to view in the drop downs. The idea is that by looking for large drop-offs in traffic, users will be able to tell when the free flow of information has been interrupted. Do you think this kind of transparency will make governments think twice about limiting freedom online?
Lenovo is constantly eyeing new device segments, as is evident from its recent foray into the smartphone market and avowed interest in tablets. It has now emerged that the company is working on a video game console called the eBox.
The console is being developed by Beijing Eedoo Technology Ltd., a subsidiary Lenovo established in July. According to Eeedoo's website, the eBox features a Kinect-esque control mechanism. Lenovo hopes to launch the controller-free game console in China before the end of this year. Plans of an overseas launch are also on the cards.
Even though game consoles like the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 are yet to be released in China, they are still available through the gray market. Besides, the Chinese market is awash with locally manufactured knockoffs of popular consoles.
There has been an addition to the list of upcoming autostereoscopic (glasses-free 3D) devices. The latest addition is of the portable variety. Supernova X1 is a 3D-capable tablet prototype that does not rely on 3D glasses for its mojo. Engadget's Chinese site was the first to get a glimpse of this tablet prototype from China's Rockchip.
However, not a lot is known about the Supernova X1 at this point in time apart from the fact that the glasses-free 3D effect can be adjusted (or even disabled) in much the same way as the Nintendo 3DS. Rockchip will unveil this tablet at the upcoming IFA 2010 event in Germany.
The world's appetite for gadgets is apparently growing ever more insatiable. Chinese manufacturer Foxconn is looking to hire as many as 400,000 Chinese workers in the coming year. Many of the new recruits will be working at factories built nearer to their homes, instead of Foxconn's massive Shenzhen facility. This is seen as a way to combat the frequent suicides at the plant over the last year.
This move would leave Foxconn with about 1.2 million employees building products for Apple and Dell. The company could certainly afford it after seeing a doubling of revenue in the first half of 2010. This won't be the end of the Shenzhen plant though. Foxconn plans to reduce the work force there only slightly, from 900,000 to about 730,000 over five years.
It's unclear if Foxconn would be making these changes had the suicide story not have hit the western media so hard. The manufacturer has also been increasing wages for workers. When you buy gadgets, do you wonder where, and how it is made?