Justice Department Charges Zoom With Suppressing U.S. Calls About Tiananmen Square, at Behest of China

Drew Harwell and Ellen Nakashima, reporting for The Washington Post:

A security executive with the video-tech giant Zoom worked with the Chinese government to terminate Americans’ accounts and disrupt video calls about the 1989 massacre of pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square, Justice Department prosecutors said Friday. […]

Prosecutors said the China-based executive, Xinjiang Jin, worked as Zoom’s primary liaison with Chinese law enforcement and intelligence services, sharing user information and terminating video calls at the Chinese government’s request.

Jin monitored Zoom’s video system for discussions of political and religious topics deemed unacceptable by China’s ruling Communist Party, the complaint states, and he gave government officials the names, email addresses and other sensitive information of users, even those outside China.

Outrageous in so many ways. How in the world can Zoom ever claim that calls are private and encrypted when they’ve clearly demonstrated the ability to monitor them, and abused that in patently offensive ways? Best to assume that every call made with Zoom is monitored by the Chinese government. Remember too that Zoom employs 700 people in China on its engineering staff. I’d be surprised if Zoom’s source code and server infrastructure was not riddled with backdoors and eavesdropping features.

Allowing a Chinese-controlled company like Zoom to operate in the U.S. — and this goes for TikTok too — is to some degree in contravention of Karl Popper’s paradox of tolerance. We, as a tolerant society, should not disallow communication services from other societies. But we must make an exception for services from intolerant societies, and there’s simply no question China is intolerant.

Friday, 18 December 2020