Who will control the Next Billion? – A Case of Chat Apps from Asia (#RightsCon 2014)
Who will control the
Next Billion? – A Case
of Chat Apps from Asia
(or Why I think it’s important to help improve data protection in East
Asia if you really care about personal data of the internet Next Billion)
Thai Netizen Network
Silicon Valley, 4 March 2014
Lead to Summary
Mobile chat apps are now everywhere in East
and Southeast Asia
becomes a mobile identity – provides authentication service for 3rd party apps
mobile social network platform – built for mobile from day one (unlike Facebook)
These “chat apps” grow globally fast
manufacturing influence (bundled to mobile handsets)
“soft-power” cultural influence (K-Pop, J-Pop, Manga)
Data of the mobile Next Billion will be more
transmitted to/processed in East Asia
Data will no longer concentrated in US/Europe,
so should the attention of data protection too?
Human rights standards so vary in other parts of
the world and the protection may not cross-border
e.g. ASEAN Human Rights Declaration
Privacy/cyber-security laws of East Asian
jurisdictions will affect more people globally
your communication data and personal data could be one day regulated by Chinese law
through monetary and educational assistants, China and Japan already have influence
in SE Asia cyber-security policy
How Big They Are Now?
(50M in Japan)
(200M in China)
“Line, WeChat: Asian social networks move to
conquer Europe” – AFP (29 Sep 2013)
“How WeChat, Line plan to taken on Facebook,
Skype” – The Times of India (30 Sep 2013)
“Asian Messaging Apps WeChat and Line Challenge
Silicon Valley. China’s WeChat and Japan’s Line Are
Threatening the Global Growth of WhatsApp and
Facebook.” – The Wall Street Journal (9 Oct 2013)
… and the Facebook’s WhatsApp deal recently
Where is the Next Billion?
Mobile internet users in Africa, China, South
America, South Asia and Southeast Asia
Protections Across Borders
“We want LINE Corp. to be the the first line of
surveillance and send us any ‘suspicious’ activity
on their app.” – Technology Crime Suppression
Division, Royal Thai Police (2013)
LINE Corp. in Japan said there’s no official
request from Thai Police. Any request for personal
data should be done under Japanese law.
Violations Across Borders
Some Chinese keywords got
censored in LINE
Study from Citizen Lab found
Censorship in LINE
LINE in China operated by a
Censorship follows user,
go across borders
Assumption (That Not Goes)
LINE did no encryption on 2G/3G network
Metadata and entire conversations in plain text
With small changes in data request string, can
pull historical chat logs up to two months old.
Made a wrong assumption that the 2G/3G
network is already secure (in many countries, it’s
Who will control the Next Billion?
South Korea, Japan, China, and Taiwan are
exporters of popular IT apps and devices. These
countries have huge influence in Southeast Asia
and emerging markets.
Political, economical, and/or cultural.
LINE is based in Japan. A subsidiary of a South
Korean company. LINE China (“Lianwo”) is
operated by a Chinese licensee.
WeChat (“Weixin”) is based in China.
Japan/China Influences on
Cyberpolicy (tech/law) in SE Asia
Japan-ASEAN Information Security Policy Meeting
Japan-ASEAN Ministerial Policy Meeting on Cyber
ASEAN Smart Network Initiative
ASEAN-Japan Joint Information Security Awareness
China-ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting
ASEAN-China Information Superhighway Working
Asian values in your pocket
As these chat apps/social network are growing, more data
will be transmitted to, stored and processed in East Asia.
“Asian values” embedded in these countries’ information
laws will play more role in information freedom globally.
Often times, in these countries, companies
cooperate/collaborate with authority. No Transparency
Report. Communication protocol is not open. Everything is
behind the door.
Asian values? From Japan? From South Korea? From
China? From where?
Together, we can do more of this
EFF’s “Who's Doing What?” (Tech)
EFF’s “Who Has Your Back?” (Law)
Thai Netizen Network
Parts of this presentation was presented at
Regional Consultation on Freedom of Expression for Civil
Liberties in Asia (22 Nov 2013, Bangkok)
CNXP (6 Dec 2013, Chiang Mai)
FOSSASIA (1 Mar 2014, Phnom Penh)
Thanks for all the comments from those forums and social media.