A Tuesday report claims China is searching foreigners’ smartphones upon crossing certain borders in the country. Chinese officials are said to be installing spyware on Android devices, while iPhone users are having their devices searched by devices similar to those offered by Cellebrite.
Vice reports that border officials appear to be downloading data from iPhones, via the use of an electronic device. iPhones don’t offer outsiders the same access they have to an Android, so they use the device to download info from the iPhone.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung reporter said they saw machines that appeared to be for searching iPhones at the border.
Foreign visitors to the Xinjiang region are subject to the surveillance as a byproduct of a campaign of surveillance and oppression against the local Muslim population.
Foreigners crossing certain Chinese borders into the Xinjiang region, where authorities are conducting a massive campaign of surveillance and oppression against the local Muslim population, are being forced to install a piece of malware on their phones that gives all of their text messages as well as other pieces of data to the authorities, a collaboration by Motherboard, Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Guardian, the New York Times, and the German public broadcaster NDR has found […]
The Android malware, which is installed by a border guard when they physically seize the phone, also scans the tourist or traveller’s device for a specific set of files, according to multiple expert analyses of the software. The files authorities are looking for include Islamic extremist content, but also innocuous Islamic material, academic books on Islam by leading researchers, and even music from a Japanese metal band […]
Once installed on an Android phone, by “side-loading” its installation and requesting certain permissions rather than downloading it from the Google Play Store, BXAQ collects all of the phone’s calendar entries, phone contacts, call logs, and text messages and uploads them to a server, according to expert analysis. The malware also scans the phone to see which apps are installed, and extracts the subject’s usernames for some installed apps.
Unfortunately, the search of smartphones is becoming increasingly common around the world when visitors and citizens cross certain borders.