Tencent surveilled foreign accounts to hone its censorship chops, U of T finds


The Chinese internet services conglomerate, which owns the country’s instant-messaging platform WeChat, has extended its documented surveillance to private WeChat messages from accounts registered to foreign mobile numbers, according to a study from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab. (The Logic)

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Talking point: “We found that documents and images transmitted among non-China-registered accounts were analyzed for Chinese political sensitivity,” reads the report. The ensuing intelligence “is being used to facilitate the censorship apparatus that is applied to China-registered WeChat accounts.” Tencent, whose WeChat has over a billion monthly active users in China, didn’t respond to the researchers’ queries.