China’s Censors Take on Google and Messaging Apps Ahead of Tiananmen’s 25th Anniversary

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 4 2014 10:12 AM

China’s Censors Take on Google and Messaging Apps Ahead of Tiananmen’s 25th Anniversary

The Netizen Report originally appears each week on Global Voices Advocacy. Lisa Ferguson, Alex Laverty, Bojan Perkov and Sarah Myers West contributed to this report.

GVA logo

Global Voices Advocacy's Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world.  This week's report begins in China, where days before the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, the government has blocked access to all of Google’s encrypted and unencrypted services in the country and announced a new front in its war against “online rumors”: Internet messaging apps. The government’s planned month-long crackdown on social messaging targets Tencent’s WeChat and similar apps.

Advertisement

It’s unclear whether the Google block is temporary, but it did cause the Internet giant’s traffic in China to fall by 50 percent this past weekend. Censorship monitor GreatFire.org has called this the “strictest censorship ever deployed.” It also suggests ways that Google could help users to circumvent the block and access Google services.

The Chinese government prohibits all forms of offline and online discussion on the Tiananmen protests, one of the bloodiest events in Beijing's modern history. Estimates of the death toll range from June 4, 1989, range from a few hundred to the thousands.

Free Expression: Russia imposes strict regulation on online payments
A new law in Russia limits anonymous online monetary transfers to organizations and bans anonymous online transfers between individuals. The law is due to come into effect this summer and is part of government’s increasing censorship of the RuNet.

Thuggery: Pirate Bay co-founder arrested in Sweden
Peter Sunde faces an eight-month sentence, according to a blog post by Cory Doctorow. His arrest comes after a series of appeals to his conviction for running the torrent site.

Cool Things
Getting to the moon and back again has never been faster. According to Time, NASA and MIT are about to reveal the results of tests using lasers to transmit information to the moon achieved through record upload and download speeds.

Publications and Studies

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.