“File sharing has never been simpler,” claim the developers behind the viral mobile app Zapya. “You can share files from device to device for free—Zapya allows you to seamlessly transfer massive files across multiple platforms.” It’s a compelling pitch—DewMobile, the app’s Shanghai-based developers, claim 450 million downloads since its 2012 launch. Somewhat awkwardly, though, it now appears that the authorities in Xinjiang have been “targeting” Zapya users among the minority Uighur population. If the app is found on a device, it’s reason enough for an investigation. And depending on what files have been shared, that investigation could lead to internment.
The Zapya revelations can be found among a leaked cache of documents that expose the surveillance ecosystem deployed in Xinjiang. The China Cables, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, detail the deployment of a no holds barred surveillance laboratory, where patterns of life can be monitored and the population can be controlled. Missteps run the risk of internment, and internment can only be escaped through modified thinking and behaviour.
It isn’t just Zapya, of course, and its developers had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing. Allegations that the authorities actively monitor communications on Tencent’s WeChat have long been made, and Western apps like WhatsApp are an immediate red flag. “Uighurs inside and outside China now live with the knowledge that their communications are constantly monitored by the authorities,” ICIJ says In its analysis of the leaked documents.
Story Credit: Zak Doffman
Categories: Technology News