Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Recommended Posts

37 minutes ago, xinoxanu said:

You are correct.

 

Thing is that my PC has work stuff, private, financial and so on - while my phone doesn't (outside of Chinese-related stuff). Some of that stuff can be considered sensitive to Chinese eyes for different reasons (i.e, a proper uni essay on Chinese influence in the pacific requires me to read both sides on the topic), some stuff is confidential under NDA's I signed with my company (yes, I also have a company laptop, but I am not currently using it) and so on.

 

Data breaches are everywhere and I am sure Facebook knows where I've been enjoying my coffee since 2008.  Thing is that while I don't care about coffee, I do care about the above-mentioned stuff and while China 99,9% doesn't care about me right now... well who knows.

 

I mean come on, it's weird we are having this conversation in 2020... one needs to be careful about how their data is shared and where it ends up.

 

Yeah I'm with you on this post! Can see why you would isolate the two with this explanation! Good response , and well constructed! 

 

Im still curious to go deeper the "Pure spyware" part though. I wouldn't want to be naive as to say it wholly isn't. But I do think there will be checks and balances in place, and predominantly in 99% cases, it is what it says on the tin -  a communication app. Granted if i was politician, senior businessmen, journalist, pro-democracy activist, i wouldn't install it. But for your average joe, I don't think it's listening to you, or scooping all of your data any more so than say any other modern app.

 

EDIT - also just back to the threads main thrust im just reading this on BBC 

 

"In an executive order, President Trump labelled WeChat a threat to US national security and accused it of gathering "vast swathes" of user data, threatening Americans' personal and proprietary information. WeChat's owner, TenCent, has been ordered to sell the app by mid-September or face a ban on US operations."

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Demonic_Duck
26 minutes ago, 杰.克 said:

But for your average joe, I don't think it's listening to you

 

CitizenLab has found that WeChat (I assume focused on the mobile apps, but probably just as applicable to desktop and web clients) does engage in "pervasive content surveillance" of transmitted data. This is disheartening, but not really surprising. What would be much more surprising and alarming is if WeChat was nefariously snooping on data that wasn't transmitted via the app itself. There doesn't seem to be any indication that this is the case, and I don't think it would be possible to do covertly within the permissions model of Android or iOS, much less the Web. Desktop may different, though at least Windows Store apps have permissions management.

 

20 minutes ago, 杰.克 said:

I do think there will be checks and balances in place

 

 

Ah yes, the Chinese government is well-known for having a robust system of checks and balances. 🤣

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
xinoxanu
4 minutes ago, 杰.克 said:

Good response , and well constructed! 

 

哇~~ Thanks for the marks!

 

Wanted to be more sassy but I deleted it to avoid being too antagonistic - a long day indeed, planning on going to bed early. Edit: someone did for me:

 

2 minutes ago, Demonic_Duck said:

Ah yes, the Chinese government is well-known for having a robust system of checks and balances. 🤣

 

But really, nowadays who can trust checks and balances? Specially when it comes to companies that are somewhat based in China and can be prone to meddling despite what CEO's parrot for marketing purposes. Even Google/Alphabet/Whatever ultimately dropped the "don't be evil" for a more ambiguous "do the right thing". Let's be cynical and talk about how doing the right thing is not universal, shall we?

 

Also, nobody knows if all this data stuff is ultimately BS or not. Google Ads keeps pushing me Costa when they know for a fact that I only drink Starbucks. Have I drank costa due to these ads? Certainly, but no more than I would have if a friend took me out for lunch. In the end it's all about being critical while also being porous to trying out new things (that's the good part of marketing!). Eventually, could this all end up replicating Minority Report, which is one of the main concerns behind privacy/data laws? Possibly, but given the state of the world at the moment, I don't see if that would make things worst.

 

Will it affect me being able to get Starbucks? Yeah maybe, but I'll transition to Costa then. Adaptability...

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Demonic_Duck said:

Ah yes, the Chinese government is well-known for having a robust system of checks and balances. 🤣

 

The sentence sounds a bit better in full! lol 🤣 

 

36 minutes ago, 杰.克 said:

But I do think there will be checks and balances in place, and predominantly in 99% cases, it is what it says on the tin -  a communication app

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Demonic_Duck

This is pretty worrying as a precedent:

 

https://technode.com/2020/07/27/tencents-wechat-halts-service-for-indian-users/

  • The sudden loss of Wechat maroons Chinese nationals living in India, employees and students of Chinese institutions, and other users suddenly cut off from their primary method of communication with mainland China.
  • Wechat users in India also lost access to message and document history, as well as all money stored in their Wechat Wallets
  • Only users who registered Wechat accounts with an Indian phone number were logged out, according to a report from Chinese state-owned media outlet The Global Times. However, Indian users told TechNode they continue to experience difficulty using the app despite registering with a Chinese phone number, switching SIM cards, and using a virtual private network (VPN)

I have no idea if the legal situation in the US would allow a similar outcome, though.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

So... in what way is it any more spyware than the mobile version?

This was a long time ago, and maybe it was actually QQ, but a long time ago I downloaded and tried to install WeChat on my Linux computer and it asked for root access. I decided not to risk it and deleted the bundle.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, 杰.克 said:

EDIT - it also seems remarkable that you would steer clear of one version of an app as PURE spyware, but comfortable with the mobile version (assumed). Surely if they are hacking you, they'll do it through both versions? otherwise it would be incompetent.

It is reasonable to assume that different versions of an app on different platforms have different security profiles. Depending on the device, the sandbox of the device would prevent WeChat from accessing parts of your data without first specifically asking for your permission. There is some nuance to this though, for example programs installed from the Mac App Store and ones you install from .pkg file will have different behavior with respect to security.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

There doesn't seem to be any indication that this is the case, and I don't think it would be possible to do covertly within the permissions model of Android or iOS, much less the Web.

Android is less a single, well-defined operating system and more like a family of operating systems. Every manufacturer can modify the base version of Android and many actually do make extensive customizations. Therefore you cannot assume the same security model on all Android devices.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read some seemingly highly credible articles, even one from a Chinese attorney, about what will happen with wechat.  However, there isn't a consensus.  If I read any of one of these articles on its own, I might think it was accurate (because they sound authoritative).  However, the articles contradict each other.  One article said on the day the order is executed, i.e., Day 45, the administration will announce what the ban covers (which I find hard to believe, but what do I know about Executive Orders?).  

 

One more hopeful article noted the negative business impact on Wal Mart, Starbucks & others with operations in China - if the ban applies to them within China (another "if").  These businesses would fight the ban.  

 

The publication Variety probably says it best (on 7-Aug):  "It is not even clear what the executive order intends by the phrase “transactions related” to WeChat. Does it mean that it would be illegal for existing U.S. WeChat users to send or receive messages? Does it mean that WeChat and TikTok must be removed from U.S. app stores? Do they have to be removed from the overseas app stores of U.S. corporations such as Apple and Google?"   Time will tell.....  

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Dawei3 said:

One article said on the day the order is executed, i.e., Day 45, the administration will announce what the ban covers (which I find hard to believe, but what do I know about Executive Orders?).

The executive order regarding WeChat is quite short, shorter than much of the commentary around it:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-addressing-threat-posed-wechat/
 

It states: “(c)  45 days after the date of this order, the Secretary shall identify the transactions subject to subsection (a) of this section.”

 

So yes, if they stick to the conditions set forth in the order, we won’t find out what “transactions” refers to until 45 days later. It’s very vague and I happen to believe they wrote it this way on purpose.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've mentioned it before, but I'll mention it again in the context of asking, just what is WeChat doing on your phone?

 

A clean install of WeChat on your phone, before you even log in for the first time and start downloading stuff particular to you, takes about 1GB of storage. I know of no other Android app which comes anywhere close to this. An app taking 100MB would generally be regarded as quite a storage hog.

 

Has anyone come across a good analysis of WeChat's storage? Most explain it away as all your videos and such, but the storage is occupied before WeChat even knows who you are.

 

  • Like 1
  • Good question! 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

The information about wechat is all over the map. Here’s an article that says users won’t be affected: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/09/impending-wechat-ban-wont-actually-ban-users-from-wechat-doj-says/

 

Users of WeChat may find services "directly or indirectly impaired" by whatever measures the administration does end up imposing, the filing continued, but "use and downloading of the app for this limited purpose will not be a defined transaction."

Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks like they will try to take wechat off of apple and google app stores: https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2020/09/commerce-department-prohibits-wechat-and-tiktok-transactions-protect

 

Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.


It is set to take effect on Sunday, but there’s an ongoing lawsuit that might delay or prevent the executive order from being enforced.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I know, apps sold & downloaded in Europe are provided by Google/Apple's subsidiary in Ireland and even if their parent company is in the US, this situation doesn't have anything to do with European law... so I am guessing that this will only have consequences for the US marketplace.

 

If that's the case you can always sideload the app in Android. For ios simply add a non-US account to your device and download it from there, that's what I did for apps that were not available on the Chinese app store and it wasn't a big deal.

 

Edit: yes, this is correct: https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/18/21445060/trump-tiktok-wechat-ban-us-apple-app-store-google-play-commerce-department

Link to post
Share on other sites

" . . . so I am guessing that this will only have consequences for the US marketplace."

 

U.S. companies are paranoid about observing these sorts of restrictions. They don't want to be accused of helping others to evade the restrictions. I don't know how Google will in fact handle this, but I wouldn't be surprised if they just wash their hands of the problem and remove the apps from Play Store worldwide.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...