July 26, 2017 By Annie Malone
Following the Indonesian government’s partial blocking of Telegram’s web-based version, the popular mobile messaging app has agreed to remove terrorist-related content in the country. Known for its two-layer encryption and anonymity, concerns exist around the use of Telegram in spreading ‘radical and terrorist propaganda.’
After agreeing to co-operate with the Indonesian government to handle terrorism-related contents, the ban was lifted and the company declared a team of moderators would monitor suspicious content on its app. Pre-existing channels known to be releasing radical content on Telegram have also now been shut down.
The head of the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), Kazuyuki Sugimoto, recently signalled his intention to consider new data handling measures to combat the rising influence of digital groups such as Facebook and Google. Citing competition as a key consideration, the JFTC’s move is seen as a response to the domination of foreign companies in Japan’s digital markets. Concerns include the use of their positions to collect improper data, keeping data exclusive in order to maintain their power, and data analysis to make it harder for customers to switch services. The JFTC has also highlighted the advantage they might have in developing technology solutions such as artificial intelligence and machine learning from proprietary data captured from Japan’s industrial sector.
Escalating attempts to restrict ‘unsavoury’ content in China have spread into what may seem a harmless area – cartoons and television dramas. The restriction of Winnie the Pooh, a well-known cartoon bear, refers to its use in mocking President Xi Jinping since 2013 due to a resemblance when compared with other cartoon characters and foreign heads of state. Further, China’s most popular video-sharing sites Bilibili and AcFun have been forced to remove hugely-popular foreign movies and TV dramas from their platforms, representing a real blow to Chinese millennials.
Meanwhile, popular online services continue to get roped into China’s censorship attempts. WhatsApp is the latest to join a long list of social media platforms that are banned in China after reports of recent service disruptions. Authorities have also ordered China’s three largest telecommunication firms to block access to VPNs in the country, officially restricting the only way for residents in China to circumvent the censorship system from February 1st 2018.
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