China launches MASSIVE promotion of REAL smartphones
You may question the implementation, but the goal is really noble.
Foreigners crossing certain Chinese borders… are being forced to install a piece of malware on their phones that “gives all of their text messages as well as other pieces of data to the authorities”. This could impact up to 100 million visitors every year.
My first, instinctive reaction was, as someone else defined it, to, “almost respect that level of disrespect”. More seriously and pragmatically:
Why should tourists be special?
A researcher at Amnesty International is quoted as saying “it’s pretty alarming to see how even foreigners and tourists would be subject to this kind of surveillance.” Me, I am surprised that someone is alarmed by this inclusion. First, their home, their rules. Wrong or right, is an entirely different issue, but why should they be different for foreigners? If anything, in a situation like that, I would expect local authorities to target “foreigners and tourist” first, or more than local residents anyway.
In the short run, we should be much more worried, and much more outraged, by the recent news that the “Land of the free, home of the brave” demands social media details from visa applicants. In the long run, we should be worried that governments of the “free” and “first” world are tempted to follow the same route.
So, sincere thanks China for:
- raising global awareness on these issues, and
- proving that, in 2019 and beyond, the really “smart” phone for traveling (and any other moment, really) still is what it was more than two years ago
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