Security Experts have confirmed that WhatsApp has been finally blocked in China. So, after banning Google, Youtube, and Facebook, China has finally decided to put restrictions on Facebook-owned WhatsApp-a popular chatting and messaging app. China is strengthening its online censorship with new cutting-edge surveillance technology which has resulted in continuous disruption of WhatsApp services. Over the past few months, users were unable to send photos or do videos chats and faced problems while messaging. Nadim Kobeissi, a cryptographer at Paris-based online security firm Symbolic Software, said that the blocking effort was intensified around July and now even text messages are also completely blocked.
Finally, the text sending is blocked
Kobeissi told the Verge that, initially what seemed to be the Censorship of photo, video, and voice not sharing capabilities of WhatsApp has finally given rise to the so-called consistent text blocking and throttling across China. He added that starting last week, WhatsApp users in China faced sporadic texting outages as government cybercops played a cat and mouse game with the messaging platform.
China’s Great Firewall surveillance regime is configured to censor traffic based on connections to servers and addresses. Kobeissi detected that China might have recently upgraded its own firewall which could detect and block the Noise Socket protocol which is used by WhatsApp to send texts. It had already blocked the HTTPS/TLS that WhatsApp uses to send photos and videos.
19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party
China is tightening scrutiny over its internet arena and is broadening its online Censorship, and all these are taking place because of the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Also, it imposed fines on companies who failed to screen content, shuttered celebrity gossip sites, punished chat group administrators for hosting sensitive contents. Actually, WhatsApp was targeted mainly because it supported end-to-end encryption which keeps users’ messages private whereas WeChat escaped because it provided the personal data of the users to the Chinese government.
Huge blow for Facebook
This strict move by China is considered as a huge blow for Facebook. Because, Facebook was banned in China in 2009 and now WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has suffered a ban. So, the only remaining stake of Facebook in China is the colorful Balloons app that was released just last month.
Facebook and WhatsApp have not commented anything about the ban, but still, it is considered as a great disappointment for many users of China who were freely using the messaging app in their country.