China now has a device that allows users to access YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google and other Internet services.
The mobile browser, which launched this week at third-party Android stores in China, has been called with the iOS launch in the pipeline. The landing page of the application contains a scrolling feed of YouTube videos, the tabs below allow users to navigate to other mainstream Western Internet services.
Some celebrate the app as an unprecedented “opening” of the Chinese Internet, such as the state media journalist, while others find that it comes under the guise of browser censorship. According to tests conducted by TechCrunch, YouTube queries for politically sensitive keywords such as “Tianmen” and “Xi Jinping” gave no results in the app.
Using the application also comes with responsibilities. Registration requires a Chinese phone number, which is associated with a person’s actual identity.
This platform may suspend users’ accounts and share their data with “relevant authorities” if they “actively” view or share content that violates the Constitution, national security and sovereignty, spreading rumors, violating social norms or other local laws. To the Terms of Service of the application.
Instead of tracking the “illegal” use of VPNs to block sites outside Beijing and preventing great firewalls, China now has an app that gives its people a glimpse into the Western Internet – a warning that could be strictly under the surveillance of authorities under their digital footprint.