China uses phone search data to target Uyghurs: Report

Beijing , May 5 (ANI): Police in Xinjiang have relied on a list of 50,000 multimedia files determined to be “violent and terrorist ” to flag Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim residents for interrogation, according to a report from Human Rights Watch .

Among the findings by the New York-based group was that Uyghurs could trigger a police interrogation just by storing the Quran on their phone, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the use of the list is another example of China’s “abusive use of surveillance technology in Xinjiang.”

The list is used by police to compare against data received from two apps that authorities have required residents of Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, to install on their phones, according to Maya Wang, the acting Asia director at Human Rights Watch, RFA reported.”Essentially, these apps on people’s phones are checking against this list, the master list, as well as searching for other information,” she told Radio Free Asia in an interview.

The data collected by the apps, known as Jing Wang Wei Shi and Feng Cai, and the master list examined by Human Rights Watch fits in with other Xinjiang surveillance systems, which Wang described as “multidimensional and multi-layered” and includes checkpoints and the Chinese government’s collection of biometrics, RFA reported.”Human Rights Watch has repeatedly raised concerns about China’s approach to countering acts it calls ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism,’” the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

“China’s counterterrorism law defines ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism’ in an overly broad and vague manner that facilitates prosecutions, deprivation of liberty, and other restrictions for acts that do not intend to cause death or serious physical harm for political, religious, or ideological aims,” Human Rights Watch said, RFA reported.

The master list of multimedia files is part …read more

Source:: Colombo Gazette