Details about China’s “Big Brother” surveillance app targeting Muslims revealed by HRW

China's Surveillance App

It was well known that China is developing a surveillance system in Xinjiang, the Northwest province of the country where about 13 million Uyghur Muslims of China and other Turkic Muslims resides in China.

A new report published by the Human Rights Watch revealed that the police in the region is using Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP) app to track and collect various data of the Uyghur citizens. The organization used reverse engineering to break down the IJOP app.

The report revealed that various information like name, height, blood type, to information on whether a person uses a VPN or specific apps — chat services like WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram — whether they leave their house via the backdoor, how much electricity they use, and much more were stored in the system.

The data in the app are also entered by the officers on the ground both roaming and on specific locations with information sucked up by a network of surveillance cameras to root out apparent suspicious people. It is also noted that China has locked up around one million Uyghur Muslims in so-called “re-education” camps and this surveillance system plays a major role in that selection process.

This app is not remarkable and efficient as it solely works on manual input from officers and alerts to keep track on the “suspicious” individuals with the help of locations setup to their home, place of work, etc.

“It’s important to note that this system, though intrusive, is also crude and labor-intensive. I don’t think they are very sophisticated, and they require a huge number of police and resources to operate,” noted Human Rights Watch senior China researcher Maya Wang in the report.

Still being inefficient the system has caused a big damage to the people living with disappearing people and have established fear in those who are remaining and with demolishing the Muslim architecture and destroying Muslim culture in the province.

Please read the full report for more details.

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