Categories
Apple

Apple restricts AirDrop in China

I think this has been greatly underreported.

Apple purposely disables a feature on your phone during unrest.

Anti-government protests flared in several Chinese cities and on college campuses over the weekend. But the country’s most widespread show of public dissent in decades will have to manage without a crucial communication tool, because Apple restricted its use in China earlier this month.

AirDrop, the file-sharing feature on iPhones and other Apple devices, has helped protestors in many authoritarian countries evade censorship. That’s because AirDrop relies on direct connections between phones, forming a local network of devices that don’t need the internet to communicate. People can opt into receiving AirDrops from anyone else with an iPhone nearby.

That changed on Nov. 9, when Apple released a new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 16.1.1, to customers worldwide. Rather than listing new features, as it often does, the company simply said, “This update includes bug fixes and security updates and is recommended for all users.”

Hidden in the update was a change that only applies to iPhones sold in mainland China: AirDrop can only be set to receive messages from everyone for 10 minutes, before switching off. There’s no longer a way to keep the “everyone” setting on permanently on Chinese iPhones. The change, first noticed by Chinese readers of 9to5Mac, doesn’t apply anywhere else.

[…]

But why did Apple rush out the change unannounced, in an unassuming update to iOS in early November, and apply it only to Chinese iPhones? One clue may lie in what happened the month prior, when Xi Jinping’s anointment to a third term as China’s leader was met with rare displays of public dissent.

In the most visible protest, a dissident now known as Bridge Man lit a fire on a bridge in Beijing to draw attention to his protest banners. One read, “Go on strike at school and work, remove dictator and national traitor Xi Jinping.” References to the banners were quickly censored across the Chinese internet, but photos still made their way through private channels. Vice reported that Bridge Man’s messages were spreading on the Shanghai subway via AirDrop.

Source: qz

The unannounced update has, as always, been twisted as a useful update to “protect the users”.

Besides all the power they already hold “curating” the app stores, imagine, next time, Apple (or any other Big Tech Corp) decides to disable your camera when the police put their knees on the neck of a poor guy, or they decide to disable the keyboard inside certain Telegram chat rooms, or disable Wi-Fi and data inside certain geo-zones, etc…

Categories
Misc

The Big [CENSORED] Theory

Really, really good analysis by The Pudding.

When these shows resurfaced, they were full of these weird jumps, signaling that scenes were removed during censorship because someone somewhere thought it would be inappropriate or illegal to stream such content.

[…]

77 of the first 100 episodes had at least one edit, amounting to 206 removed scenes.

[…]

I categorized these scenes, among which sex, LGBTQ+ (and atypical heterosexual relationships), as well as disrespect toward China or the country’s allies are the most common ones. The four other topics account for a rather small portion but are still worth mentioning: illegal actions, religion, unhealthy addictions, and miscellaneous.

[…]

This added up to over one hour of deleted scenes, or nearly three full episodes of purely censored content.

Source and analysis by The Pudding.

The author analysed all the censored cuts out of TBBT and categorised them in 7 different ways (explained at the end of the article).

Very nicely done, showing side by side comparison of the censored and original version.

Categories
Misc

Hong Kong’s Facebook pages disappear following arrests

[…]

Those pages are now gone, along with thousands of anonymous posts sharing gossip, seeking advice, and protesting against government policies. In August, police in Hong Kong arrested two administrators of the Facebook page Civil Servant Secrets on suspicion of sedition, without specifying what content they found problematic. Shortly after the arrests, many other popular pages each with tens of thousands of followers shut down, as people feared becoming the next targets of Hong Kong’s crackdown on dissent.

“We don’t know where the red line is,” the administrator of the CityU Secrets page told Rest of World. Requesting anonymity to avoid being targeted by the authorities.

[…]

Source: rest of world

As time changes… All the (stupid?) things we posted (when we were kids?) on the World Wide Web will come and bite us.

Long gone are the days of the free “underworld-y” internet that existed when I grew up, I know, but few of us realise that all the things we posted on the internet are there, forever, and eventually… It’ll come and haunt us.

Categories
Misc

Is Civilization on the Brink of Collapse?

Categories
Misc

Molten Iron Fireworks