China’s censorship isn’t sparing anything from its ban hammer – now blocking another foreign-owned service after months of struggle to keep WhatsApp accessible.
As reported by The New York Times, WhatsApp is now banned in mainland China, adding to the list of banned Facebook-owned apps and services, including Instagram, and Facebook, itself.
WhatsApp is known for having such strong security features, including end-to-end encryption meant that anybody else aside from the sender and receiver can’t see or monitor messages being sent from one user to another – and it appears, though, that the Chinese government has found a way to block this feature, disabling the ability to send and receive WhatsApp messages through the said network.
Lokman Tsui, an internet communications specialist at Chinese University of Hong Kong said that some WhatsApp users might still be able to use the said service.
Although this blocking might be bypassed by using VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) just like any other service or sites that are geo-blocked, it is highly unlikely that it will work in the meantime since there are also reports surfacing that the Chinese government is also targeting to hit it with their ban hammer.
China’s WeChat alternative
China’s alternative, WeChat, however doesn’t contain end-to-end encryption. This fact alone is already self-explanatory because the fact that you can monitor messages (since it was unencrypted) makes it the best choice for Chinese government and mainland China.
The Negative Impact
Of course, people and businesses who rely on WhatsApp for their daily messaging and communications tasks will be hit, especially if they’re dealing with people overseas, or foreigners and Chinese, themselves, who doesn’t want to communicate without being monitored by the Chinese government themselves.