Authorities step up mobile phone surveillance

5 Jul 2004

China’s official Xinhua News Agency has revealed that the country’s authorities are planning to introduce new technologies to increase the monitoring of mobile phone messages. The government already screens email content and blocks access to foreign websites considered ‘subversive’, but is now said to have contracted Venus Info Tech Ltd to provide a surveillance system for SMS. According to the Public Security Ministry, the new initiative is aimed at cleaning up ‘pornographic, obscene and fraudulent’ messages, but critics have labelled it just another mechanism for the state to censor any form of political dissent. The Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders has issued a written statement protesting at the development.