China has decided to make the service unusable for several people without a virtual private network & this had resulted in increasing the government’s hold on public & private discourse. In mainland China, the messaging app Signal became unusable for several people, which stifled one of the most extensively used messaging apps that can send & receive encrypted messages in the area without a virtual private network.
Initiatives Taken by Chinese Government
It is a surprise that China’s government has blocked all the signals that intensify public & private discourse in China. Further, many social-media & messaging apps such as Facebook & Twitter have been banned. Several other social media apps, such as Clubhouse, are forbidden. This was reported when several users in mainland China have started to say that they were facing problems in sending & receiving messages in the app.
Thus, a separate virtual private network (VPN) was set up to enable internet users to circumvent the problem of resolving the users’ issues, which has resulted in blocking the apps in China. China was using a separate system of web-filters to help the users in accessing only classified information.
Problems Faced by Users
Some other problems faced by the users who were using the banned app are mentioned below-
- Registration Problems
- Censorship Practice
- Network Blocks
The problems had begun surfacing on Sunday & the Cyberspace Administration of China, which holds the responsibility & authority of regulating the internet, did not adhere to any request for making any commentary. As far as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China is concerned, they had referred to the ban on the app in the relevant department. Still, they had also stated that the internet in China is open & the government has managed to handle the internet following the law’s compliant protocols.
In the Signal app, the sender & receiver use end-to-end encryption, which prevents any third party from accessing the data. This data includes several features such as unimportant messages & tractable media & hence Signal, in this case, is promoted as a tool to ensure that the connection is secure & private. This is why a VPN is allotted for encrypting the messages as apps like Telegram, Facebook, &Whatsapp are inaccessible.
According to the latest reports released by the U.S. administration, it was also stated that the popular social media messaging app WeChat would be banned in China. It is the most popular messaging app of China & its operations are controlled by Tencent Holdings Ltd. Now, special encryption, which involves the client-to-server interaction, is used extensively in WeChat. It gives total access to Tencent for accessing the data circulated between senders & receivers. This app holds the importance of ubiquitous level in China & it is a necessity among the general public due to its high-class messaging & payment services. It has similarities to the app named Signal, reporting issues with sending & receiving messages via the app.
WeChat is also famous because of its censorship of sensitive issues, like political criticism. Due to the banning of apps like Clubhouse & Signal, China has tightened controls over its internet users. Although there was no clear reason behind the apparent ban, some critics have contributed to the fact that the Signal’s growing popularity with the mainland users might have resulted in its shut down. Although it is clear that the app is now banned, now it can be safely stated that there are more apps in the pipeline to be banned in China & the government is taking action. They are planning several measures to restrict social media usage so that the dependence of the common public on the messaging apps is less than earlier.
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