President Donald Trump signed an executive order to prohibit US companies from doing business with Tencent, which owns WeChat and nearly 50% of Epic Games, which makes Fortnite and Unreal Engine. Tik Tok has until September 20th to sell to Microsoft or another American company or it, too, will be banned. Is this because some Kpop fans on Tik Tok spoofed a Trump rally in Tulsa?
Chinese cyberspace is one of the most surveilled and censored in the world. That includes WeChat. Owned by Tencent, one of China’s biggest companies, the chat-meets-payment app has more than 1 billion monthly users in China and now serves users outside the country, too, although it does not divulge how many. Researchers say its use abroad has extended the global reach of China’s surveillance and censorship methods.
“The intention of keeping people safe by building these systems goes out the window the moment you don’t secure them at all,” says Victor Gevers, co-founder of the nonprofit GDI Foundation, an open-source data security collective.
Every day, Gevers scans the Internet for vulnerabilities to find unsecured databases, and he has exposed a large number of them, particularly linked to China.
more on WeChat and surveillance in this IMS blog