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This Chinese Communist Party app lets it access data on its users’ phones

By Kenny Yeo - on 15 Oct 2019, 9:39am

This Chinese Communist Party app lets it access data on its users’ phones

(Image source: The New York Times)

According to a German cybersecurity firm, Cure53, the Chinese Communist Party’s app, Study the Great Nation, has “superuser” access to the Android devices on which it is installed.

This allows the CCP to gain access to the user’s messages, photos, contacts, and internet browsing history. Reports say that the CCP could even activate the audio recorder and record conversations through the phone.

The app, Study the Great Nation, was launched in January and it contains articles and videos about President Xi Jinping. The Chinese title of the app, 学习强国, is a pun on President Xi Jinping’s family name (习).

Users of the app are encouraged to read and comment on articles, complete quizzes, and watch videos. They earn points for doing so and there is even a leaderboard to spur competition. Some are calling it the modern-day digital equivalent of Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book.

According to Cure53, the app collects and sends detailed log reports daily. What’s worse is that, for some people, the use of the app is mandatory.

The CCP has issued directives that its members must download the app. Many workplaces and organisations in China have issued similar directives, such as the Beijing Chaoyang Lawyers’ Association and Peking University.

Furthermore, around 10,000 reporters and editors in Beijing will take part in a pilot test this month in which they will be tested on their knowledge of Xi Jinping through the app.

A Chinese Twitter user said that the app is the equivalent of an electronic handcuff.

It goes without saying then that unless you are forced to, Android users should avoid installing this app on their phones.

Source: The Washington Post