WhatsApp Video and Photo Messages Reportedly Blocked in China

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    China has reportedly started blocking some features of the WhatsApp messaging service, as authorities continue to tighten controls over the country's internet.

    WhatsApp users began reporting problems with sharing content on the chat platform yesterday, with many unable to send video and pictures. Despite initial fears of a communications-wide ban of the Facebook-owned service, text-based messages within the app appear to be unaffected.

    WhatsApp's reach in China is small compared to homegrown chat service WeChat, which boasts 900 million users but is routinely subjected to state monitoring and censorship. However, Chinese users concerned about privacy have increasingly turned to the encrypted WhatsApp platform to communicate with friends and relatives as well as businesses abroad.

    Facebook and Instagram have remained blocked by China's Great Firewall since 2009 and 2014, respectively. Encrypted messaging service Telegram was also blocked inside China after it became popular with the country's human rights lawyers, while several domestic VPNs - which are commonly used to evade censorship and access services abroad - were recently shut down after authorities said they were unauthorized to run.

    China appears to be clamping down on potential sources of politically sensitive news as it prepares for a major leadership reshuffle in Beijing. The event happens every five years and often leads to a tightening of online controls to project an air of stability in the country. The death of jailed Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo last week also spurred censors into action, with commemorations on WeChat reportedly blocked by authorities.

    (Via The New York Times.)

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: WhatsApp Video and Photo Messages Reportedly Blocked in China
     
  2. c0ppo macrumors 6502a

    c0ppo

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    China is leading the way. Western government's are following suit.
     
  3. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

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    #3
    Is it only now? My friends went to China last year and had a lot of issues with whatsapp not working as well. iMessage worked but took a long time to send (I presume there was a lot of filtering going on in the background).
     
  4. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    You can still use 'external' VPN's can't you.

    External=Not in China.
     
  5. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

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    Need to come up with a way of making it impossible to block an app without shutting down the entire internet...

    What will China do once satellite internet is readily available? Shoot down satellites?
     
  6. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    I guess blocking the sale of Satellite dishes/antennas/aerials will do the trick.

    Example, satellite TV is not allowed in Singapore so they ban Sat. receivers and dishes.
    This doesn't mean you can't really get them, people hide dishes in giant flower pots and smuggle dishes
    into Singapore.
     
  7. DoctorTech macrumors regular

    DoctorTech

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    Make possession of the hardware (or accessing the services) required to use the satellite Internet illegal
     
  8. nnoble macrumors regular

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    Yes, probably.
     
  9. DaveTheRave macrumors 6502a

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    Signal got around this problem in Egypt by somehow masking their service traffic so that it looked like Google or Amazon. Which meant that you'd have to block the real Google or Amazon, etc and risk pissing off lots of people and bring down most of the internet. Maybe WhatsApp can do something similar - mask the traffic as Wechat or some other very popular Chinese site that the govt wouldn't want to block.
     
  10. MacBH928 macrumors 68020

    MacBH928

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    Seriously, who monitors the communications of 900M people? How many people do you hire to monitor that many people?

    Second thing, I really doubt WhatsApp is encrypted. Facebook paid $20B for it, and its free. It doesn't make sense.
     
  11. macduke Suspended

    macduke

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    I think more mesh networks will eventually come online as wireless technology continues to improve. Site-to-site encrypted WiFi that tunnels past the borders and gets information in through new avenues. I also think that at some point in the future they'll be able to put some really powerful wireless systems on satellites that won't require a big antenna receiver or anything. Maybe something like p-cell could be adapted for that. There will always be ways. It's just unfortunate that countries have to be like this.
     
  12. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    I don't think there are 900 million people using the internet in China, keep in mind that there is still a lot of poverty.
     
  13. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    Whatsapp is end to end encrypted.
     
  14. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

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    You're both talking like the hardware is going to be easily detectable. I expect it'll satellite internet antennas to be indistinguishable from a GPS or Cellular antenna by the time most people start using it.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 20, 2017 ---
    I'd be quite surprised if China chose to do that (shoot down satellites)... I can easily see that escalating to a third World War.
     
  15. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    You are most likely right, Some of the dishes in use now (Sat. Internet) are not that big, just found one which is less than a foot squared.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. DoctorTech macrumors regular

    DoctorTech

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    I don't necessarily think it will be easy to detect, but I think China will make the penalty for possession so high that many people will be afraid to own it. They don't have stellar human rights record.
     
  17. italodance Suspended

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  18. MacBH928 macrumors 68020

    MacBH928

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    So how do they make money? Its not charity. They paid $20B for it! Do you know how much that is?
     
  19. jimi78 macrumors regular

    jimi78

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  20. flameproof macrumors 6502a

    flameproof

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    I tested WhatsAPP inside China yesterday with images - and it worked.
     

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