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Friday, October 3, 2008

China Monitoring Skype Messages

Citizen Lab, a research group based at the University of Toronto, says its found a database of thousands of politically sensitive words which have been blocked by the Chinese government. "These text messages, along with millions of records containing personal information, are stored on insecure publicly accessible web servers," said Citizen Lab's report, entitled "Breaching Trust". The database contains in excess of 150,000 messages which included words such as "democracy" and "Tibet" and phrases associated with the Falun Gong a spiritual movement considered banned by China. Skype president Josh Silverman said China's monitoring was "common knowledge" and that Tom Online, Skype's Chinese partner, had "established procedures to meet local laws and regulations". "These regulations include the requirement to monitor and block instant messages containing certain words deemed offensive by the Chinese authorities," he said. While I'm sure most of us are not surprised at the Chinese Governments monitoring of communications by it's citizens, making such information public opens up a whole new debate. BBC News story here.