Cybersecurity firm Internet 2.0 claims that Hong Kong’s rapidly deteriorating legal status has undermined the claim by China’s social media app WeChat that user data is protected.
On September 30, 2020, WeChat submitted in writing to the Australian Parliamentary Special Committee on Foreign Interference via Social Media, stating that user data is protected based on the fact that much of its technical architecture is in Hong Kong. Insisted.
However, the acquisition of the city by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in mid-2020 undermines the legal protection that cities around the world have provided to international users of WeChat.
Owned by China, WeChat is one of the largest mobile messaging apps in the world, with approximately 1 billion active users. The app is focused on the Chinese-speaking community, especially in China, where it has evolved into a multi-faceted platform that offers payment services, video games, restaurant orders, and even online shopping.
Nonetheless, the app performs extensive censorship of messaging services, including account invalidation to discuss sensitive human rights issues and concerns used for monitoring. WeChat has approximately 1.5 million users in the United States, 600,000 in Australia, and 1.3 million in the United Kingdom.
In one example, former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s WeChat account was taken over and “sold” to a Chinese businessman who wanted access to the leader’s 76,000 followers.
Morrison is Beijing’s creeping foreign country, including banning Huawei from Australia’s 5G network in 2018 and becoming one of the first global leaders to call for a global investigation into the origin of COVID-19. Assisted in the initiative to counter the interference of.
Internet 2.0 researchers have found that all WeChat user data recorded by the app is stored in Hong Kong and between mainland China and Hong Kong servers due to the passage of Beijing’s National Security Act, which effectively undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy. Said that the boundaries of were blurred.
“WeChat users have confirmed that they can interact directly with mainland China servers. Managing the priority of competing jurisdictions of software platforms connecting mainland China under international data privacy laws such as CCP and general data protection. I think it’s getting very difficult. European Union regulations and California Consumer Privacy Act in California. “