China will start censoring online usernames this Sunday

China.gifIf you use any of China’s online services and you’ve got a cheeky username, we’ve got some bad news for you: judgement day is drawing nigh. Starting on Sunday March 1, government regulations banning the use of certain kinds of nicknames online in China will go into effect, and Chinese tech companies will be forced to crack down. Wondering if your username will be affected? Here’s what’s banned under the new rules:

China’s government wants to control what usernames you can pick on the web

China.gifChina’s government has long been interested in ensuring that people’s online personas are connected to their actual identity. Its efforts to enforce real-name registration go back years. But real-name registration has not meant that users’ choice of username is restricted. It has simply meant that behind that username, there had to be a real identity that government agents could access in case the account was used for law-breaking.

LinkedIn Doubles User Base in China Amid Social Media Censorship

ChinaLinkedIn has increased its user base in China from four million to eight million, according to its earnings report released Thursday. This doubled size in user base proves that despite the government’s strict censorship, foreign social networking sites still stand a chance in China. The business-oriented social networking service officially entered China in February 2014 with the launch of Lingying, its Chinese language site. By then, it already had about fourmillion members in its English language site.

Government Censorship Curbs Social Media Use in China

ChinaIn the span of one year, the number of people in China that see the positive impact of social media has dropped significantly. A recent study reveals 68 percent of users in 2014 think social media makes their life better, a 12 percent drop from the previous year. In 2013, QQzone emerged as the top social media channel. According to survey conducted by Kantar, a market research firm, the top three social media channels are WeChat, QQzone and Weibo.

China demands use of real names in social media accounts

ChinaTo eliminate fake social media accounts that impersonate public figures, the Chinese government has issued new rules that go much further and outlaw anonymity in blogs, social networks, discussion forums and IM services. The move, announced Wednesday, is the latest in a recent string of Chinese government actions that have increased online censorship in the country.

VPN providers play ‘cat-and-mouse’ with China’s growing censorship

ChinaAmit Bareket calls it a “cat-and-mouse” game. In this instance, his company is the mouse, and the Chinese government is a giant cat. The two sides are continually at odds, because Bareket’s company, SaferVPN, is one of many that provide software tools designed to circumvent the country’s notorious Internet censorship. These tools are growing more popular in China, in spite of recent government attempts to block them, according to Bareket.

China cracks down on cartoon and gaming sites, including those run by Tencent, Baidu, and Qihoo 360

ChinaAnother day, another bunch of Chinese websites biting the dust. China’s perpetual quest for a squeaky-clean internet goes on, and while the smut on state-run media sites unsurprisingly hasn’t been affected, other sites are feeling the sting. The latest victims are a number of anime and gaming websites, including sites operated by Tencent, Baidu, and Qihoo 360.

Websites that promote remote gambling to be blocked

SingaporeSINGAPORE: From Monday (Feb 2), websites that provide or promote remote gambling services will be blocked, when the Remote Gambling Act kicks in, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced on Wednesday. Payment transactions related to remote gambling will also be blocked. The Act had been passed in Parliament last October. It stipulates that it is an offence for a person to gamble remotely with unauthorised operators, or provide unauthorised gambling services, MHA said in a press release. The law is aimed at protecting young and other vulnerable people.

Instagram accessible again in China, but service is patchy

ChinaUsers started reporting they were able to access Instagram over the weekend. Tech in Asia staff stationed on the mainland confirmed the app is no longer blocked, though sometimes images won’t load or only partially load. Whether or not it works might depend on your internet service provider and location.

China tightens Internet control by blocking VPN services

ChinaChina is clamping down on unrestricted access to the Internet by blocking services that allow users to get around government censorship. Several foreign-based operators of virtual private network (VPN) services said Friday that access to their services in China had been disrupted as a result of the crackdown and users are facing a harder time getting to some foreign websites.

Virtual private networks work by establishing an encrypted pipe between a computer or

Report: Apple agrees to Chinese security audits of its products

ChinaApple will allow China’s State Internet Information Office to run security audits on products the company sells in China in an effort to counter concerns that other governments are using its devices for surveillance, according to news reports. Apple CEO Tim Cook agreed to the security inspections during a December meeting in the U.S. with information office director Lu Wei, according to a story in the Beijing News.

China cracks down on VPN

ChinaBEIJING — China is blocking VPN services that let users get around online censorship of popular websites such as Google and Facebook amid a wider crackdown on online information, according to technology specialists.  The virtual private network provider Golden Frog wrote on its blog that the controls had hit a wide range of VPN services. The popular provider Astrill informed its users this week that its VPN protocols for Apple mobile devices to access services such as Gmail had been blocked.

China deleted over 3 million porn files in 2014: Xinhua

BEIJING: China deleted more than three million pieces of pornographic content from the internet in 2014, state media reported Saturday (Jan 10), as part of a campaign to cleanse the country’s online sphere. Zhou Huilin, a vice director of the National Anti-Pornography and Anti-Illegal Publications Office, told the official Xinhua news agency his office had been “remarkably effective” last year.

Government orders ISPs to unblock 32 websites, links

NEW DELHI: The government on Friday ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to unblock 32 websites and website links it had asked them to block in December. Its decision to put curbs on these sites had stirred up massive online protests and debates over the need for standard procedures to deal with such situations.  Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) Director-General Gulshan Rai confirmed to ET that the unblocking orders had been sent to ISPs.

Cyber-terror crackdown: No contacts for many blocked sites, from IN

NEW DELHI: As the government cracks down on websites purportedly carrying anti-India propaganda of terror groups such as ISIS, security agencies have found that many of these portals do not have contact details of their owners and have servers based outside the country. The concerned agencies are finding it difficult to proceed with legal action against these websites in the absence of any co-operation from domain registrars and other entities in the US and Europe where their servers are based, official sources said.

China’s state-run media tells citizens to ‘accept’ Gmail block

The Chinese state-run publication Global Times today told citizens to “accept the reality of Gmail being suspended in China” while simultaneously lashing out at Western media for concluding that the Communist government was behind the outage. Traffic to Gmail servers from Chinese IP addresses dropped sharply four days ago, the block apparently put in place by the Chinese government, according to Internet performance vendor Dyn Research, as communications reached Hong Kong. All Gmail traffic to and from China goes through Hong Kong.

Chinese paper blames Google over Gmail blocking

BEIJING: Internet giant Google’s unwillingness to obey Chinese law is to blame for the shutdown of its hugely popular email service, state-run media said Tuesday (Dec 30) after the last easy way to access Gmail was apparently blocked. “China welcomes the company to do business on the prerequisite that it obeys Chinese law; however Google values more its reluctance to be restricted by Chinese law, resulting in conflict,” the Global Times said in an editorial.

Government faces a firestorm of protests, decides to unblock some websites, from IN

NEW DELHI | BENGALURU: Following angry protests by Internet users over blocking of over 60 websites and weblinks in India, including those belonging to popular online tools like GitHub and SourceForge, the government said it has initiated steps to unblock some of the websites after consulting with them.  As per information provided by the secretary in the department of electronics and information technology, officials from anti-terrorism squad in Mumbai in November had requested blocking of 32 websites/pages.

Indian government orders ISPs to block Vimeo, Github, and 30 other sites

CENSORED.SVGA number of Indian web users are reporting that they are unable to access websites such as Pastebin, DailyMotion, Vimeo, and Github while using internet providers such as BSNL, Vodafone, and Hathway. This appears to stem from an order reportedly issued by India’s Department of Telecom on December 17, directing internet service providers to block 32 websites.

Line denies government monitoring app messages, from Thailand

The parent company of the Line mobile-chat application Tuesday denied press reports that government is monitoring messages sent through the service in Thailand. “No monitoring by the Thailand government has been conducted,” Nam Ji Woong, a spokesman for South Korea-based Naver Corp., which owns Line Corp., said by e-mail today. “Line considers consumers’ privacy as a top priority.” The government was monitoring more than 40 million messages sent via Line each day, Khaosod reported, citing Pornchai Rujiprapa, Thailand’s minister of information, communication, and technology.