December 06, 2005

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Well, it's been a few days since my last post, so I thought I'd weigh in with a rather topical article I read about SMS monitoring in China in the International Herald Tribune. Apparently surveillance of China's text messages will be stepped up in the wake of increasing amounts of criminal or otherwise illegal messages sent to local consumers' phones. 107,000 illegal SMSs have been found out this year, and 9,700 accounts have been shut down. 44% of the messages were banking scams (I'll be impressed if the standard Nigerian dictator letter can be composed in an SMS), with the others ads for prostitutes, porn or illegal lotteries.

The government is also considering a filtration system that would allow the government to quickly access messages with "false political rumors" or "reactionary remarks" (would that be orthodox Marxist-Leninist ideology?).

But ultimately a human being is still going to have to read suspect messages, particularly from known or suspected dissidents. And here's a hint about why the title to this post is what it is - the number of text messages sent in 2004 (when 20% less accounts were probably in existence?)? 217.8 BILLION. And no, that is not some mistake, some Chinese mislabeling of 'wan' as 'million'.

How long does it take you to read a text message? How about a hundred of 'em?

Wanted: office space for the PSB.

posted by HK Dave on 12.06.05 at 09:37 PM in the China politics category.


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