The University of California (UC) has warned students and faculty against using messaging apps and social media while visiting China, concerned that their communications could be used as incriminating evidence by Chinese law enforcement.
The advisory referred to the recent arrest of U.S. citizen Paul Whelan in Russia on suspicions of espionage, citing his use of WhatsApp.
Said UC, "China could use this condition similarly against western travelers to levy charges or as an excuse to deny departure."
UC advises visitors to refrain from using WhatsApp, WeChat, and similar messaging apps, even though they are legal in China.
WhatsApp may be theoretically more secure than WeChat with its end-to-end encryption and overseas servers with no backdoors, but such measures will not protect users if Chinese agencies can compromise a target's phone with malware or other methods.
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA
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