Okkkaaay, now China is going after mobile phones. I think I am going to read Foucault's Discipline and Punish to brush up on the panopticon (the idea that you are being watched therefore you behave whether the someone is actually watching you or not) along with Orwell's 1984 again, just to feel that I live in the predicted unimaginable of the what was once thought to be a not so-distant future right about now.
And not to be funny, if I wasn't so damn politically aware and if doing this stuff wouldn't make me gain about 40 pounds and send me into insomnia every night, going into China working on technology has to be said must be quite exciting as you would be dealing with never before used soft and hardware... then again.. I suppose that was the excuse for scientist who worked in Nazi concentration camps doing experiments on human subjects. Forget morality it was interesting and new... Honestly, is it really worth scrolling through billions of SMSes that is filled with date and time of meeting, stupid jokes and flirtatious remarks just the off chance that someone somewhere might be saying something against the government? I am sooo sure the CCP honestly have better things to do to make sure the people don't want to over throw them...
Chinese government gets a new SMS messaging surveillance system
Chinese firm Venus info Tech Ltd said on 11 June 2004 that it had secured permission from the Public Security Ministry to market its real-time surveillance system for SMS (mobile phone text) messages.
The new technology will allow the authorities to filter messages using key words and to pinpoint "reactionary" text-senders.
Reporters Without Borders condemns this new surveillance system. "The Chinese authorities are making ever greater use of new technology to control the circulation of news and information. In the past months we have been witnessing a real downturn in press freedom particularly on the Internet. The international community should react against this hardening by the Chinese regime", said the organisation.
Venus info Tech Ltd said in its press release that its surveillance system would allow it to home in on "false political rumours" and "reactionary remarks" among others. It works through filtering algorithms created by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, based on keywords and combinations of key words.
It generates automatic alerts to police and saves information about suspect texts - date of sending, sender of a message and so on – for 60 days. It could also be used for surveillance of other types of electronic messages such as emails. The website Internetpolicy.net, specialised in press freedom issues on the Internet, has raised the alarm about the new system, "if this product works as claimed, and if its price is as low as Chinese products usually tend to be, exports to other countries may soon followit", it said.
According to the same press release, China currently has 2,800 SMS surveillance centres. These specialised departments came under great pressure during the Sars crisis, in May 2003, to monitor messages sent about the epidemic. Around a dozen people were arrested as a result for having spread "false rumours" through their mobile phones.
On 2 June 2004, the deputy minister of Public Security, Zhang Xinfeng, announced the launch of a campaign against the criminal use of text messages. Crooks could make use of text messages to send bogus promotional offers and obtain its victims bank details. The minister at the time insisted on the necessity of deploying "specialised technology" to prevent this type of crime.
There has been a huge increase in the use of mobile phones in China in recent years. In some cities – such as Guandong or Beijing – the rate of mobile phone ownership has reached 60 %, a figure close to that in Western countries. Nearly 100 million text messages are sent in the country each year.