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Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp.

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San Francisco, Sep 26 (IANS) Instant messaging service WhatsApp has been largely blocked in China, the media reported.

The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), a global observation network for detecting censorship, surveillance and traffic manipulation, suggested on Monday night that Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp on September 23, reports CNN.

Public reports on Twitter indicated that WhatsApp, which is owned by the US-based social media giant Facebook, became inaccessible for some people on September 19.

Over the last few months, there were a number of WhatsApp disruptions in China.

However, WhatsApp has not made an official announcement on the development.

China has already blocked access to a number of internet companies, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google.

Some people access these services through virtual private networks (VPN), or with tools that disguise internet traffic to circumvent censorship. But the Chinese government has launched a crack down on VPNs this year.

According to Timothy Heath, senior international defence research analyst at the RAND Corporation, the Chinese government does not like that WhatsApp uses strong encryption.

“The government wants to monitor internet communications, and therefore it’s trying to steer its people to use technology that can be accessed and monitored by the government,” Heath told CNN.

Earlier this month, WeChat, a popular chat service in China, notified users of its policies to comply with government requests for information. (ians)

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Google Sends Email to Employees Asking Them to Delete China Search Engine Memo

The China search engine would link users' search history to their personal phone numbers, according to the memo

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Google asks employees to delete China search engine memo: Report. Wikimedia Commons

In its bid to suppress a memo revealing information about a plan to launch a censored search engine in China, Google has sent an email to employees asking them to delete the sensitive document, The Intercept reported.

Authored by a Google engineer familiar with the project, the memo disclosed that the search system would require users in China to log in to perform searches.

Codenamed Dragonfly, the search engine would track the location of users and share the data with a Chinese partner who would have “unilateral access” to the data, said the report on Friday, citing the memo.

The news about Google’s plan to build a censored search engine in China broke in August when The Intercept reported that the search platform would blacklist “sensitive queries” about topics including politics, free speech, democracy, human rights and peaceful protest, triggering internal protests among some Google employees.

Two weeks after that report, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the company’s employees that the China plan was in its “early stages” and “exploratory”.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. (Wikimedia Commons)

A group of Google employees who were organising internal protests over the censored search system got access to the memo detailing information about the project.

The Google leadership, according to the The Intercept report, were furious when they discovered that the memo was being passed among employees who were not supposed to know about about the Dragonfly project.

Also Read- India Gets Its Sex Offender Registry

The China search engine would link users’ search history to their personal phone numbers, according to the memo.

This means if security agencies were to obtain the search records from Google, individual people could easily be tracked and users seeking out information banned by the government could potentially be at risk of interrogation or detention. (IANS)