China Is Forcing People To Download An App That Tells Them To Delete “Dangerous” PhotosApril 09, 2018
Ethnic Uighurs in China’s west say they are being forced to download an app that scans cell phones for audio and video files and dispatches their information to an outside server.
According to new research by a team supported by the Open Technology Fund under Radio Free Asia, the app Jingwang Weishi — which translates to “web cleansing” — records a phone’s identifying information, including its IMEI number, model, phone number, and manufacturer.
It also searches through the phone for unique, fingerprintlike identifiers associated with files, particularly photos, audio recordings, and videos, researchers found.
Reports about people being asked — and forced — to download the app began to surface last year, with some screenshots of the app beginning to appear on social media, leading to speculation about what it actually did.
In addition to Jingwang Weishi, police departments in Xinjiang have also pressured residents to download an app called Baixing Anquan, or Citizen Security, which has been referenced in several state media reports.