NEWSLETTER: CHINA’S MINORITY VIGILANCE APP & GOOGLE BUSTS NEW HOMEPAGE RUMOR

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Spying on 30 million people isn’t part of my job description.” ~ Lucius Fox (The Dark Knight)

CHINA ‘OFFICIALLY’ SPYING ON ITS MUSLIM POPULATION

THE STORY

More than 10 million Muslims across China have been issued official orders to install mass-surveillance smartphone app.

WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED?

Although China allows its citizens freedom to practice any religion, their prejudice against a particular religion is definitely not hidden. They officially put a straightforward ban on beards and veils on the Islamic Uighur community, that mostly resides in the Xinjiang province in Northwestern China. While this really didn’t stir up the media previously, their recent orders are certainly more perplexing.

Chinese authorities issued a notice last week for Xinjiang citizens, to install the ‘Jingwang app’ that supposedly detects any illegal religious content or any terrorist activities. This was also enforced by routine checks by police to ensure that people comply.

IS THIS AN INSTANCE OF ISLAMOPHOBIA?

Certainly, it is! Xinjiang province is home to a majority of China’s Muslim population, including 8 million Uighur Muslims residing there. The official circular contained text in both Chinese and Uyghur language that further strengthens their bias against Islamic-Chinese communities.

WHAT ABOUT THE APP?

The Jingwang app looks similar to ‘citizen safety app’ developed by the police department in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. Android users were provided with QR codes from where they could download and install Jingwang. According to experts, this app uses MD5 digital signatures to match phone contents with their database and reporting any irregularities to the police.

If any illegal content is found, the owners will be asked to officially delete it and will have to report to authorities. Deleting and not installing the app would lead to detention up to 10 days.


GOOGLE DENIES ANY PLANS TO CHANGE ITS HOMEPAGE

THE STORY

Google finally debunks all rumors to change its iconic homepage that has remained a mainstay for over 21 years.

WHY THIS RUMOR GAINED GROUND IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The Google homepage has remained visually unchanged since 1996, regardless of the tremendous changes in its functioning and search capabilities over the years. Rumor has it that after 21 years, Google planned to make some ‘radical’ changes to its simplistic homepage. Since most users were excited to see this happen, we all were led to believe this rumor.

WHAT DID GOOGLE SAY ABOUT THIS?

While Google officials denied the possibility of a totally revamped homepage, they did agree on bringing a news feed to their mobile platform. This new feature would collect data from users’ browsing activities and present them with news and offers on the home screen. They also denied any plans on bringing this for desktop version of Google. The new features would also gather data from other websites such as YouTube, Google Calendar and Google Maps for additional information.

Akshay Peter

Akshay Luke Peters is a writer and blogger for Systweak Software. He likes to write about off-beat topics and technological awareness. He is also part musician who likes to explore the future of technology in entertainment and popular media.

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