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U.S. academic and critic of Beijing censorship will leave China after losing job
An American professor who taught at Peking University's HSBC Business School in Shenzhen for the past nine years (who you may know on Twitter as @BaldingsWorld https://twitter.com/BaldingsWorld), lost his job after the school chose not to renew his contact. Christopher Balding said that he was given an “official” reason for getting the boot, but that his firing was actually for an "unspoken reason" - a.k.a. his outspoken critiques on the state's economic policies and increasing censorship in academia.

Reuters: "Balding said in his post that he was given an 'official' reason for his contract not being renewed, but said, 'I know the unspoken reason for my dismissal.' He said he was notified in early November that his contract would not be renewed. 'You do not work under the Communist Party without knowing the risks,' he wrote. Last August, Balding launched an online petition calling for Cambridge University Press (CUP) to refuse all censorship requests from the Chinese government after the publisher had bowed to pressure from Beijing to block online access to hundreds of scholarly articles in China. CUP reversed the decision and restored access to the articles within a few days...Balding has been a critic of China’s economic and trade policies, as well as of what he perceived as increasing surveillance and censorship in the country. 'The restrictions and how much they monitor you have increased significantly over the past couple of years,' he told Reuters last year during the controversy over Cambridge University Press. 'As a foreign professor, as long as I don’t talk about ‘four T’s’ - Taiwan, Tibet, Tiananmen and The Party — I’m pretty much okay,' he said at the time."

Read Balding's blog post about his departure from China here. http://www.baldingsworld.com/2018/07/17/balding-out/
otf  china  asia  censorship  gfw  balding 
54 minutes ago by dmcdev
The Rise of China's Security-Industrial Complex
China's appetite for all things surveillance and security is driving the emergence of a new "security-industrial complex," and that other state-fueled 'industrial complex' you may be familiar with, the "similar phenomenon" emerging in China is pushing the country's leadership "to increase security spending," writes University of Oxford cybersecurity PhD candidate Valentin Weber for the Council on Foreign Relations. This mutually reinforcing, "symbiotic" relationship between the Chinese government and the private sector helps keep the surveillance state running, raises the importance of Chinese tech companies, while also boosting their growth domestically before they can be exported abroad to developing markets, Weber writes.

"In 1961, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower coined the term 'military-industrial complex' in his farewell address, warning that the combined interests of the military and private sector could undermine democracy and have unchecked influence in policymaking. China is witnessing a similar phenomenon at the moment via the emergence of a security-industrial complex, made up of politicians dependent on security-related industries, private security companies, and the Ministry of Public Security...The Communist Party is all too happy to oblige given that the extra security keeps it in power, creating a symbiotic relationship between the security industry and Beijing...China’s security-industrial complex is also looking to export its approach to other markets. China has been a major proponent of the concept of 'Safe Cities' throughout the developing world. Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunication provider, rolled out the Safe Cities model to Nairobi, Kenya and installed 1800 surveillance cameras as part of the initiative...Unlike the military-industrial complex which Eisenhower warned could undermine U.S. democracy, China’s security-industrial complex has cemented the power of the Communist Party, increasingly concerned with controlling the actions of those it governs."
otf  china  asia  surveillance  censorship  gfw  security 
2 hours ago by dmcdev
Throughout Middle East, the Web Is Being Walled Off
From Egypt's rampantly increasing list of blocked websites and recent moves to curb social media, to Turkey's censorship of Wikipedia (along with tens of thousands of other sites), and scores of news websites blocked throughout the Gulf region, governments across the Middle East are increasingly implementing China-like internet controls, Jared Malsin reports for the Wall Street Journal, with some using Western-produced tech to carry out their censorship and surveillance work.

"'My first thought was, ‘Welcome to China,’ said a banker in Cairo, recalling his attempt to access Mada Masr, Egypt’s leading independent news organization, which has been blocked since June 2017. He asked to have his name withheld for fear of government reprisal. In recent weeks, Egypt’s Parliament has moved to cement online censorship in law, including legislation passed on Monday that gives the government the right to block social-media users and accounts that engage in any of a number of vaguely-defined violations such as 'incitement to break the law.' Authoritarian governments in the Middle East are increasingly adopting a version of China’s approach to online censorship, walling their citizens off from swaths of the internet and denying access to popular websites, often with the aid of Western technology...According to Citizen Lab, an internet research group at the University of Toronto, Egypt is blocking websites with the help of devices whose digital fingerprint matches those of products sold by Sandvine, a firm based in Fremont, Calif., and Waterloo, Ontario."
otf  mena  egypt  turkey  gulf  censorship  access 
yesterday by dmcdev
Iran arrests 46 in fresh crackdowns on Instagram models
Iran appears to be doubling down on its Instagram crackdown, as authorities in a single city in the south of the country arrested dozens for posting content deemed "immoral," AP reports. The arrests follow news last week of Iranian authorities arresting high profile Instagram user Maedeh Hojabri for posting videos of herself dancing; Hojabri was then forced her to confess on state television for her "crime." https://www.article19.org/resources/iran-arrest-of-instagram-celebrities-part-of-efforts-towards-filtering-the-platform/

AP: "The official IRNA news agency reported Monday that officials in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, some 1250 kilometres, or 630 miles, south of the capital Tehran, arrested eight women and 36 other people in the photography, beauty salons and wedding businesses who used Instagram to share what they considered indecent images and clips. Police said they were 'damaging public virtue through the organized spreading of anti-cultural' activities."
otf  iran  mena  instagram  social  censorship  access 
3 days ago by dmcdev
Looking Through the Eyes of China’s Surveillance State
On his daily commute in Shanghai, New York Times journalist Paul Mozur passes "more than 200" surveillance cameras in 30 minutes. But who (if anyone) is actually behind these cameras? Who are the watchers, and are they actually watching? And do those super dystopian facial recognition sunglasses actually work? Mozur takes look inside, including by trying on the glasses.

"I pass more than 200 on my 30-minute commute in Shanghai. After a while, they mostly blend into the background. But when spotting a new one, I wonder about them. Is anyone watching? Is a computer parsing the feed? Is it even on? Trying to get to the bottom of these questions can be infuriating. Chinese people are often unwilling to talk about their run-ins with the police. And the authorities are usually under standing orders not to talk to foreign journalists about much of anything, let alone cutting-edge technologies that snoop on criminals. So when I got the chance to see the world through the eyes of a police camera, it was oddly exhilarating. As it goes with reporting in China, often you just have to show up, camp out and hope for the best. In my case, patience and a hefty dose of luck paid off."

Mozur provides some additional commentary in this thread. https://twitter.com/paulmozur/status/1018755989024075776
otf  china  asia  surveillance  censorship  privacy  gfw 
3 days ago by dmcdev

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