Chat program censorship and surveillance in China: Tracking TOM-Skype and Sina UC

  • Jedidiah R. Crandall University of New Mexico
  • Masashi Crete-Nishihata The Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
  • Jeffrey Knockel University of New Mexico
  • Sarah McKune The Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
  • Adam Senft The Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
  • Diana Tseng The Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
  • Greg Wiseman The Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
Keywords: Internet censorship, Internet surveillance, China

Abstract

In this paper, we present an analysis of over one year and a half of data from tracking the censorship and surveillance keyword lists of two instant messaging programs used in China. Through reverse engineering of TOM-Skype and Sina UC, we were able to obtain the URLs and encryption keys for various versions of these two programs and have been downloading the keyword blacklists daily. This paper examines the social and political contexts behind the contents of these lists, and analyzes those times when the list has been updated, including correlations with current events.

Author Biographies

Jedidiah R. Crandall, University of New Mexico
Department of Computer Science
Jeffrey Knockel, University of New Mexico
Department of Computer Science
Published
2013-06-30
How to Cite
Crandall, J. R., Crete-Nishihata, M., Knockel, J., McKune, S., Senft, A., Tseng, D., & Wiseman, G. (2013). Chat program censorship and surveillance in China: Tracking TOM-Skype and Sina UC. First Monday, 18(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v18i7.4628