That Motherboard article also links to a repository with the APK: https://github.com/motherboardgithub/bxaq
Source: Was in Shenzhen within the past month. Normal customs/border control practices. Nobody asked for personal devices. Only surveillance that was obvious was biometric checkpoint at customs, and some sort of face scan (?) at the subway queue.
That being said, foreigners accessing the normal WWW is really not a major concern if you think about it.
1. get a multiple entry visa
2. say you're going to shanghai or whatever on the application
3. go to Xinjiang on your second visit
That doesn't mean there's no reason to ever visit, just that there aren't very many more reasons than for e.g. visiting the neighboring Kazakhstan. Most people crossing the border and getting subjected to the surveillance are probably ethnic Kazakhs living on either side, visiting relatives on the other.
So human rights violations is not a thing in China. Under the current Chinese government's rule, the people do not have rights, unless, of course, when the "rights" are beneficial to the longevity of the CCP.
Both the West and China believe that old people deserve care in their old age. The West would justify this by saying that the elderly have fundamental human rights, which would be neglected without care. Chinese would justify this by saying that the young have a duty of care to the old.
Both the West and China (at least superficially) believe that rulers should treat their subjects with respect. In the West, this is because each subject has human rights. In China, this is because the ruler has a duty to treat their subjects respectfully.
So I would not make the mistake of thinking that the Chinese are somehow amoral because they do not subscribe to the doctrine of human rights. It must honestly seem to them like a Western concept that clashes with their view of morality (or at least it would if I were in their shoes). But the Chinese government must have a set of duties to their people. I would love to read a document where they outline those, I'm sure it must exist somewhere.
Care of the elderly is a recognition of the fundamental importance of individual dignity and the value of character. This is an inherent quality of individuality, as opposed to a right which is somewhat granted by an external entity [^]. Claiming people have a 'right' to someone else taking a positive action on their behalf isn't a universal Western value, or if it is it is reasonably modern. The idea is old, but historically it probably had a different name (likely tied in with religious community, for example).
[^] You can be denied your rights, but you can't be denied the fact that you are in individual with dignity and importance.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_rights for more on this.
The duty formulation is good because it makes clear the cost of the right - it's like avoiding the passive voice in writing (compare 'everyone has the right to food' with 'those with food have a duty to feed those without' - the first is meaningless without the second). The rights formulation emphasizes that the reason for the duty resides in the person to whom the duty is owed, not the person who must perform the duty, and even if the performer changes, the duty will remain.
Elsewhere in the thread, the point is made that the prevalence of right formulations in western society mainly came about as western society went through successive limitings of the power of monarch and government, and the rights of the people against all governments present and into the future were enumerated. I don't know if this is true, but it seems plausible. It also provides a possible explanation for why authoritarian regimes might prefer a duty based view, and would certainly try to avoid accepting a philosophy that limited their power over their people.
Having said all that, big chunks of chapter 2 of the Chinese constitution read just like a Bill of Rights. http://en.people.cn/constitution/constitution.html
The concept of universal rights was the refinement of this and only fully emerged during the enlightenment era in Europe. But it was there in a less explicit, more rudimentary form in classical Greece, too.
It's a choice, really. What kind of world do you want to live in? A world where we recognize basic human rights as x-y-z (from which we can determine what duties we have toward each other, for sure) Or a world that we left behind for very good reasons.
For example a Buddhist might argue that the fundamental concept is realizing that there is no difference between the concept of you, and myself, that we are all one thing, and from this determine that one should not inflict suffering on other sentient beings.
For example, in the U.S. there's a culture that if a government is not infringing on the rights of its citizens, it has done enough. For example, the secretary of state that runs my DMV does a good job of respecting the human rights of the disabled, and a good job of respecting the human rights of their employees, but I don't get the feeling they feel compelled to provide good service.
If they had a duty to be the best administrator of a DMV around, they would need to be focused on accessibility, their employees, and the level of service provided to their customers. An administrator who did not focus on providing great service could be chastised for that in a way I don't see happening (in my state, at least).
Duties precede rights. In the African savannah of 50,000 years ago, our obligations to each other saved us from extinction. As hunter gatherers in tiny bands of ten people, we had to do everything as one. There was only “we”, no “I”, unless you were the leader. You either went with the group or died.
A deeper article:
We now need DRM and can't have fair use because it violates the new human rights....
For example, universal healthcare.
So I'm not sure the chinese are more evil than our occidental countries...
Moreover, it seems that chinese authorities force people to install their software on the phones. But, last time I checked, I was forced to accept the EULA on my phone as soon as I turned it on (Nokia One for the record). I'm sure that I'm just as "forced" to install Android on my phone as I'm forced to install the chinese software : basically I can refuse, but it means that I have to throw the phone away...
Obviously I make a kind of caricature here, but my point is : whatever the way it is installed, the software on your phone is controlled by a powerful entity, controlled maybe by a powerful government which has, like most of them, some blood on its hands. There's nothing wrong with that, that's history; but we don't need to look to far away to see problems with privacy...
In my book, both the USA/corporate style of surveillance and the Chinese way are bad and need to be defeated. Don't buy the rhetoric that you have to choose a side in a fight between these two bullies.
We can argue on the one that uses its surveillance for the worst, we can argue on the rights that users have to disassemble and protect their devices on either side. The point is that we need tool to protect our freedoms, because they are attacked by powerful actors, like China.
And indeed, being China's competitor does not automatically makes USA a champion of privacy and user rights.
There's no "and". According to what you wrote, we're thinking the same thing :-)
I'd rather be "bothered" by the US than "bothered" by China because in the former you can at least make the case that they shouldn't be bothering you and expect it to be considered. Government as the sum of all the bits that make it up behaves like a power hungry sociopath. Given the choice I'll take the sociopath that at least nominally respects human rights.
Well no shit, only one of these two countries has had the capability to project power globally for six decades. To say China hasn't intervened in e.g. Ireland's affairs is to say pretty much nothing about its (un)desirability as a global leader.
Within each country's sphere of influence though, I don't agree with the above statement in any sense though. China is far more active/aggressive (and amoral) in the affairs of its people domestically and in its regional sphere of influence than the US generally is.
That's the point; it's aggressive in the affairs of _its people_. That being said, I'd disagree that the US generally leaves countries in its sphere of influence alone: the war on drugs for instance resulted in a massive amount of violence and suffering in Mexico, America's southern neighbour. America installed Pinochet in Chile, and also created various other banana republics in South America (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_republic). America is one of the only countries in the world to tax its citizens regardless of whether they live, and imposes so much bureaucracy on dealing with them that there are even European banks that refuse to serve US customers: https://www.spiegel.de/international/business/reaction-to-us.... US intelligence agencies somehow convinced the New Zealand spy agency to illegally wiretap Kim Dotcom (NZ is a close US ally): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/9569986/Kim-.... The US embargoed Cuba for decades; China trades peacefully with Taiwan.
I should travel there once, just to see it for myself...
Certainly worth a read and would be very interesting to compare what we class as democracy and accountability country by country from a neutral perspective. Though I'm not aware of any such articles of comparison.
Presumably, they need to answer to their president.
From the Hacker News Guidelines:
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Please try to avoid sensationalist or dishonest language when commenting.
I for one use an Android fork (LinageOS) and I trust the maintainers to remove any malicious features from stock Android but I can also never say for sure.
Google knows everywhere I am and reads all my email.
The US government can and does get data from Google through both instruments like national security letters and subpoenas. If it decides you're in need of prison:
* There may be a trial before one gets thrown into a prison camp. That's true. The Justice System is relatively fair to anyone who can afford to spend $300,000 on lawyers without worrying about the cost. That's the top-1-percenter population. If you're a Googler, you're probably at the lower-end of this.
* For most middle-class families, a criminal prosecution is guaranteed bankruptcy. Whether or not you defend yourself successfully depends on how quickly you run out of money.
* For most lower-class families, the outcome is usually a plea bargain, where you do get thrown into a prison without trial.
Before making comments like yours, you might want to read a book like "The New Jim Crow," and look up statistics on what your own power structures are doing (and specifically, both statistics on the number of people in prison and anecdotes for how they got there).
Or perhaps we should get our law enforcement to help out. But then who would we have to do the very important work of putting kids in cages on the border?
I think you're making the mistake of viewing Google and the US military as autonomous entities. We have 7 billion people in the world. Organizational structures, whether governmental, corporate, or otherwise are abstractions generally designed to keep people happy, healthy, organized, and productive. Systems define how those abstractions interact.
Most bad systemic behaviors come from those interactions.
It makes sense to understand good and bad behavior on an individual level (e.g. an person who spends 3 years at Google and then moves on to Facebook for 6 months, finds it doesn't work out, and gets a job at Apple). It makes sense to understand how organizational structures interact to cause healthy behavior or oppressive behavior at an overall level. It usually makes very little sense to look at individual organizations without looking at the overall systems they operate in.
At this point, Google seems to do a lot of bad in the world. That's not a criticism of Google the organization. It legally can't do otherwise. The CEO of Google has a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value, while the regulatory regime makes the behavior it's engaging in do exactly that. The trick is to fix the ecosystem around Google so it can do good. That's actually a place where Googlers and similar could do a lot of good, if they can get past the ego issues which lead to defensiveness like from the post like yours.
Unless they're expecting a MITM from the police network (or wherever they use this app) why is no https a problem?
>BXAQ uses the default icon for Android apps, which means there is no attempt at being
covert or discreet about it.
...or maybe they didn't put an icon because it's optional and unnecessary for what essentially is an internal app.
I mean really they are not trying to be unbiased or anything about the analysis.