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.

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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.

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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.

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