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Friday 25 April  
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Beijing, China
Beijing, China

Apple blocks app developed by Chinese activists and RNW

Published on : 13 December 2013 - 1:09am | By Julie Blussé ((C) RNW)
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For almost two months, the FreeWeibo app offered readers an uncensored version of China’s most popular social media network, Sina Weibo. Thanks to a smart technological workaround, developed by Chinese cyber-activists and Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), government censors had no way to block the app. Except by pressuring Apple to remove it for them. On November 28, Apple complied.

“This is very, very frustrating,” says Charlie Smith, co-founder of FreeWeibo, a collective of activists against internet censorship. The app was the group's latest attempt to provide Chinese people access to the messages censored on Weibo, without requiring them to use circumvention tools to get over the Great Firewall.

FreeWeibo has been monitoring and documenting Weibo’s censored messages for over a year on FreeWeibo.com. The site is a treasure trove for researchers, journalists and curious citizens who want to find out what Chinese are really discussing online. But unsurprisingly, the site was quickly blocked in China.

The block was no reason for FreeWeibo to give up on its anti-censorship campaign. Together with RNW, which considers the FreeWeibo app a valuable forum for free speech, the activists developed a more censorship-resistant app to publish blocked Weibo tweets.

Surprise attack
The app went live on October 4, and after FreeWeibo successfully fended off a few initial attacks, the censors halted their attempts to frustrate the app’s functioning. FreeWeibo seemed to have exhausted the censors’ methods. The only way that they could block the app was by shutting down China’s access to the App store completely, the activists believed.

But to FreeWeibo’s surprise, the next counterattack didn’t come from the censors. Instead, Apple abruptly brought the cat-and-mouse game between the censors and FreeWeibo to a halt by removing the app from the store.

“We felt quite good about getting around the Chinese censors,” the pseudonymous Smith commented. “So when we found Apple pulled it, that was a real downer. It’s the worst kind of censorship we can face, because there’s not much we can do to counteract it.”

A matter between China and RNW?
In a notice sent to RNW, which hosts the app on its account, Apple wrote it had removed the app from the Chinese App store “because it includes content that is illegal in China, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.”

RNW’s editor-in-chief, William Valkenburg, asked Apple to clarify which law it believes the app offends, and on what legal procedure Apple bases this judgment. On Tuesday, he received a phone call from Apple’s App Review board. Valkenburg: “All they stated was that they had received a request from Chinese authorities to remove the app from the Chinese store because it goes against local laws, and that they consider this a matter between the Chinese authorities and RNW.”

Apple states in its rules for developers that apps “must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer’s obligation to understand and conform to all local laws.” The guidelines also state: “We view Apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book.” 

How FreeWeibo beats the censors

FreeWeibo has caused great excitement by creating censor-proof apps and sites. But their technology is based on a surprisingly simple concept: seek shelter under the wings of online companies that China cannot afford to shut out.

This is how it works: companies like Amazon and Google have large cloud infrastructures that can be used to host websites. For example, Amazon provides services to companies like Pinterest and Instagram. Many of Amazon’s clients are companies of vital economic interest to China. Because Amazon provides all of its services over a secure connection (https), China can only choose to censor every website that depends on Amazon’s services, or none at all.

A simple request to Apple might get an app removed from the Chinese App store, but FreeWeibo believes that pressuring Amazon to take down sites will be much more difficult: if Amazon were to pull FreeWeibo’s mirror site per China’s request, it would also go down everywhere else in the world. That means Amazon would have to commit worldwide censorship solely for the sake of the concerns of China’s authorities—probably a bridge too far.

Business interests
By upholding these guidelines, Apple makes it impossible for apps concerned with issues such as free speech or human rights to find a home in the Chinese App store, especially because a phone call from authorities is considered sufficient proof to Apple that certain apps offend local law. Earlier this year, an app that displays banned books on Tibet was removed, as well as a censorship circumvention tool and other apps that touched on sensitive subjects.

Apple’s response to the request of Chinese authorities is “similar to other businesses active in the China market,” says Isaac Mao, a social media researcher and well-known Chinese blogger who also sits on FreeWeibo’s advisory board. “All the businesses understand the immediate price they could pay, so normally they will sacrifice [the interest of] the customer, or developers in this case,” he says. “It’s a common practice, unfortunately.”

Charlie Smith does see a silver lining to the app’s removal: “The case helps shine a light on Apple’s opaque censorship guidelines,” he says. With past app removals, “We never really knew how Apple’s decision was made,” Smith says.

“In this case we can clearly see that in the first instance Apple did not have the intention to remove it at all,” Smith explains. “They accepted us into the Chinese App store, as well as our subsequent updates. It was only when Chinese censors couldn’t take the app down that Apple was asked to remove it. We can trace the removal to a direct request from Chinese authorities.”

FreeWeibo’s Future
In any case, FreeWeibo is not dwelling on the loss of their app. It has just launched a special mirror site of FreeWeibo.com that is freely accessible to internet users in China without circumvention tools.

FreeWeibo also recently made headlines by creating a similar “unblockable” mirror site for Reuters, after the international news agency's site was blocked in China. It has also proposed offering the same service to other websites that are currently inaccessible in China.

The group is also currently developing an Android app. “The reason we originally chose Apple was because we figured that Apple is the kind of company that would support our goals. But we’ve got plenty of other places to go,” Smith says. “This is definitely not the end of the story.”

Discussion

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Awakenmedia 11 March 2014 - 4:04pm / India

20 ) Klassiek Nederlands

Mensen zijn gewoon beu CONGRES , ANDERE regionale partijen ( AAP ) EN BJP !
DUS verwerven van de MASTER KEY !
VOOR DE OLIFANT VAN BSP !

Congres roepen Modi als Chaiwala en Jayalalitha als OLIFANT en iemand belt Rahul als Panipuriwala alle bedragen aan de hubmle beledigen en hard werken chaiwalas , olifant en Panipuriwalas .

Congres, Bahuth Jiyadha Paapi ( BJP ) en Asura's Assisteren Paapi ( AAP ) zijn alle chips van de zelfde oude ijzer en steenkool blokken. Gieren van dezelfde featherflocking samen te voeden met de dode lichamen van uitgehongerde boeren en nu op sloppenwijk dwellers.If een is ' A ' team anderen zijn ' C ' teams ' B ' & .

Mevrouw Mayawati had terecht gezegd dat er interne breuk tussen Modi, Advani en Rajnath Singh . Nu een van de eigenaren van Stealth Cult RSS 's Bahuth Jiyadha Paapi ( BJP ) Joshi , Sushma Suraj , Lalji Tandon hebben zich aangesloten bij de strijd . Daarom is de sarva Samaj dwz alle samenlevingen waaronder SC / ST / OBC / minderheden en arme brahmanen , Baniyas en kashatriyas zullen stemmen voor het enige alternatief & HOOP van de NATIE de BSP 's olifant om de MASTER KEY voor hun welzijn , geluk en vrede te verwerven zoals vastgelegd in de grondwet en gelijke verdeling van de welvaart .

Kiezers Awake met Bewustwording van Baniya Media Kejri ( Crazy ) Revol ( ver ) 's Natak Baaz ( Drama ) van Asura Assisted Paapis ( AAP ) inclusief Bahuth Jiyadha Paapis ( BJP ) en stem voor Ms Mayawati 's BSP 's OLIFANT zal de grootste zijn met 100 % dat zal
vonk deze debatten en sturen de publieke opinie . Dat is wat wij zekerlijk nodig voor opzettelijke nalatigheid van de Verkiezing Commissie van haar verantwoordelijkheid om alle in aanmerking komende burgers omvatten als kiezers & strategisch verwijderd namen uit een lijst van de kiezers al die jaren door te gaan van deur tot deur in het voordeel van Stealth Cult RSS 's Bahuth Jiyadha Paapis ( BJP ) . Video showingCEC in de Gemeentelijke Hindutva kledij bewijst dit.

2 . CEC geen orders symbool HAND van het Congres en Nationale Bloem LOTUS van BJP en de standbeelden van de bovenste kaste leiders toen hun geregeerd staten gingen voor polls zoals zij heeft gedaan met mevrouw Mayawati 's BSP 's OLIFANT symbolen en Historische SC / ST / OBC ' s Pictogrammen standbeelden draperen passeren .

3 . OPEN SOURCE CODE van evms die niet tamper proof moeten nog openbaar worden gemaakt .

EG Corruptie Stealth Cult RSS 's Bahuth Jiyadha Paapi ( BJP ) Conspiracy , Black Out BSP 's Sarva Samaj (All Society ) inclusief
SC / ST / OBC / Minderheden , Slechte brahmanen , Baniyas & kshatriya 's Campaign.

Tijdens de laatste Uttar Pradesh parlementsverkiezingen zoals mevrouw Mayawati van BSP regeerde , de CEC besteld voor draperen alle BSP OLIFANT Symbolen waaronder de Trunk verhoogde ones ( Niet BSP Symbol) samen met alle historische SC / standbeelden ST / OBC iconen ' voor gelijkschakeling . Na dat veel Congres , Stealth Cult RSS 's Bahuth Jiyadha Paapi ( BJP ) regeerde staten ging voor polls . Maar de CEC nooit de moeite genomen om te bestellen voor draperen Hand en Nationale Bloem Lotus Symbolen en beelden hun bovenste kaste leiders ' .

Omdat de electronische stemmachines niet tamper proof , moet de CEC hun BRONCODE publiceren en maken het een open source-code

1 . Het is Corrupt kiescommissie die niet Kosten Narendra Modi Verkiezingscampagne hebt genoteerd voor Poll verband houdende uitgaven die oplopen tot Rs.50 crores aan Rs.100 crore per rally mobiliseren tot een miljoen crowdincluding kosten van de live-uitzending .

2 . Kiescommissie heeft Poll Enquêtes van Gujarat CM Modi niet STOP was projectie - zonder enige vermelding van de uitvoering van de GRONDWET - kiescommissie had moeten schaffen " DIT ASSURACE ten minste zes maanden op voorhand ' sothat keurvorsten zijn volledig geïntroduceerd om het beleid van partijen voor hun stem uit .

3 . Er is geen aandacht in de media MS Mayawati 's 35 Lakhs Rally op RAMABHAI Ambedkar op elke tv kanaal wanneer Verkiezing
Commissie moet zorgen voor ' Gelijke kansen voor alle kandidaten . '

4 . Maar het is ' een grove fout van EG partij president beperken met meer dan 3,5 miljoen volgers . ' Natuurlijk onderscheid moet worden gemaakt
tussen BSP Nationale President's rally & campagne en kandidaten in hun eigen achterban .

5 . Bewijs van haar Wangedrag wordt bevestigd wanneer Prakash Javdekar uitgelokt BJP Cadre door de schuld bij Arvind Kejriwal voor Lame Duck Sardar Sarovar Project .

6 . Het is natuurlijk 'democratisch schandaal toen PARTIJEN CAMPAGNE zonder enige vermelding van de uitvoering van de GRONDWET WHENELECTION COMMISSIE VOOR DE COMPLETE POLITIEKE IDEEËN VAN ideologie van geregistreerden OP HET MOMENT VAN REGISTRATIE moet aandringen . '

7 . Kiescommissie werd verwacht Vormen in Advance een hooggerechtshof rechters Led Pannels Monitor Lies van Feesten & Zorg EERLIJKE GEDRAG VAN POLITIEKE PARTIJEN .

Hier volgen een paar Stealth Cult RSS 's BJP 's ' Bahut Jyada Paap ' ( Most Sinful ) Crores van Rupees waard in Paid E - Reclame & Nieuws (Gezien) in diverse e -medias

http://www.narendramodi.in/ind ...

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6 ) Klassieke Armeens

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Stealth Cult RSS , s BJP ( Bahuth Jiyadha Paapis ) zal hem niet aanvaarden voor het eerste bericht sinds zijn saluut is niet RSS groet. Zijn groetend de hand moet dichtbij zijn borst niet in de buurt van het voorhoofd . Hij is gewoon een sacrifical zondebok als Yediyurappa . Hij wordt gebruikt als kerriebladeren .

Rediff.com
LS poll enquête : NDA tot maar liefst 227 zetels krijgen, Cong te worden teruggebracht tot 84

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bedelen voor 272 Lok Sabha zetels Karnataka Specifieke problemen bespreken en ondergang van het land.

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http://www.theindianrepublic.com/politics/kejriwals-media-link-exposed-1...

chaipe cahrcha betaald nieuws advertentie

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/articles/542421/20140309/lok-sabha-election-201...
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http://news.worldsnap.com/states/karnataka/bangalore/nilekani-joins-cong...
http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140310/nation-politics/article/machiavell...

http://www.dailythanthi.com/
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http://www.tamilmurasu.org/Inner_Tamil_News.asp?Nid=53880

http://www.koodal.com/news/india.asp?id=74210&title=former-cricketers-co...

bokir 5 March 2014 - 1:09am / indon

smart app

Anonymous 23 February 2014 - 7:15pm / colombia

me aparto bastante poco del tema tratado.
aqui en colombia y en BOGOTA.DC.la misma policia nacional de colombia,que es la mas corrupta del planeta y de todos los tiempos y lugares.utiliza los medios mas incubiertos para extorcionar ala ciudadania y controlar la opinion publica y privada del exterior,mas que todo de los paises desarollados comoeuropa,australia,canada,rusia,ukrania y de todo europa,china,jAPON,CANADA,KOREA Y BRASIL.AN ESTADO CONTROLANDO Y MANIPULANDO,LATELEFONIA CELULAR Y FIJA.PARA OCULTARCE Y SABER QUIEN LOS DENUNCIA Y HABLA DE ELLOS,DE SU ORGANIZACION CORRUPTA Y CRIMINAL,DELICTIVAYDELINCUENTE,UNIFORMADA Y CON INSIGNIA,Y ESTABLECIDA DE FORMALEGAL,Y CON LA AYUDA DE LA MISMA CIUDADANIA.COMENZANDO POR SUS PROPIOS FAMILIARES Y SERESQUERIDOS,SU DECENDENCIA Y COMPADRES Y PAISAMOS DE CADA UNO DE ELLOS,Y DE SUS AMIGOS,CONOCIDOS,YCOMPLICES Y SECUACES,Y DE LA MISMA CLASE SOCIAL DE ELLOS,Y DE MUCHOS MAS DE MALVIVIR Y DE LA MISMA CLASE DE MALA GENTE.

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