We have ways of making you app

AFP does the latest report on international businesses complaining about Hong Kong’s ever-tightening and ever-more absurd Covid measures…

The new rules are the latest public health inconsistency to fuel suspicions in Hong Kong that the coronavirus is being used to keep the population down after democracy protests two years ago and a subsequent crackdown on dissent.

At present, 240 people can attend an indoor wedding banquet but more than four people eating sandwiches together in a park remains banned.

(The SCMP manages to craft a more positive spin in which business groups broadly support the government’s efforts and moan in moderation.)

An HKFP op-ed asks

…why so much control, so much checking of where people go, rather than a stronger vaccination campaign?

If you haven’t yet got the feeling that the measures’ real aim is to curb protests and restrict movement, maybe you soon will.

Many people have downloaded the government’s LeaveHome Safe app, introduced as a voluntary contact-tracing system, in order to enter restaurants and other facilities without fuss. As of yesterday, the app became compulsory to access government buildings. This makes life difficult for poorer and homeless people who lack smartphones (click here to see ‘disoriented aged people fiddling with the app outside a public market in Tuen Mun’). It is also raising questions about why officials are so keen to promote the app.

After a solid year of NatSec regime horrors (cue the latest ‘seditious intention’ arrests), trust is running thin. Some people have downloaded fake apps (one simply opens inert but identical-looking website). The authorities are fighting back, even arresting civil servants. Others are now buying second phones – not linked to their personal info – just to put the app on.

And along comes CCP-run Wen Wei Po demanding that the government ban people from using second phones for LeaveHomeSafe. It might seem paranoid to claim that the authorities are pushing the app to pave the way for spyware – except there is no other reason why a CCP paper would want everyone to be compelled to use their main phone for it. 

Now there’s talk of supermarkets and malls requiring the app. Given malls’ role as public walkways and the main supermarkets’ near monopoly in many districts, this would make commuting or buying food a challenge – unless you download the software.

People have been angry that all this is supposedly necessary to reopen the border. They’ll be even angrier if/when they find out it’s a way to impose mass-surveillance software on everyone’s phone.

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9 Responses to We have ways of making you app

  1. YTSL says:

    “People have been angry that all this is supposedly necessary to reopen the border. They’ll be even angrier if/when they find out it’s a way to impose mass-surveillance software on everyone’s phone.”

    How many people truly were so blind to this possibility/reality and who are they? Uneducated folks, those living in privileged bubbles, people so self-absorbed they fail(ed) to see what’s been going on in Hong Kong in recent years, etc.?!

  2. honkey says:

    the United States government was already twigged to all of this almost two years ago, when they banned Google and facebook from using servers based in hong Kong and then scotched the undersea cable that was going to be used to link the us internet systems to asia, as it ran through Hong Kong. It was pretty clear even then that if you are on the Internet in Hong Kong, it’s the same as being on the internet in china. people are deluded or ignorant or apathetic if they do not realise that hong kong is going to be eliminated as a free port and free place of ideas exchange and commerce. I give it about 18 months.

  3. Quarantine Zombie says:

    As someone who’s being compelled to spend double the amount of time in quarantine as even the most cautious scientific evidence suggests is adequate, may I applaud the quislings for hastening Hong Kong’s transformation into a techno-totalitarian state. I hope they enjoy the hell they’re creating. For me, I hope my next flight out will be my last.

  4. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    For my protection I have a whole folder with patriotic pictures on my iPhone.

    And on Spotify a playlist with lots of patriotic songs like “The East is Red”, the “Internationale” played by the People’s Liberation Army Orchestra, national anthems among others of North Korea, and the former East German Democratic People’s Republic including their educational song for citizens ” The party, the party is always right”, “Socialism is Good” with the PLA Qianxian Chorus, “There is no New China without the Communist Party” by the Shanghai Choir, not to forget “Power to the People” by one late John Lennon, “Land of Hope and Glory”, “Avanti Popolo”, “Commandante Che Guevara” and “Commandante Fidel Alejandro Castro” and lastly “I love you China” by Ye Peiying, and to ease my Fridays chores the “Laundry Song” by FLOTPRC Peng Liyuan.

    Goes handy with “Glory to Hong Kong”, and gives the guys in basement B5 of the West Kowloon Terminus hopefully a good hour of entertainment!

  5. Guest says:

    @YTSL: don’t forget the “patriots”.

  6. MT says:

    @YTSL: The willful blindness around the CCP can be staggering. Consider this recent gem about China, in reference to Red Roulette.
    “There’s no doubt that Xi, when he came to power in late 2012, was concerned about rampant corruption. It was a little bit out of control. …But then when you saw the people who were at the top who were taken down, they followed a pattern of being people that were maybe not on Xi’s side.
    The book helped push the needle a little bit for me towards more of a political take down than a real anti-corruption drive.”

    If this was coming from, say, a US-based trade policy guy it would be one thing. But it’s Mike Forsythe, erstwhile NYT China correspondent.

  7. Low Profile says:

    @Kwun Tong Bypass – the John Lennon song could be a bit dangerous – under the CCP, power belongs to the Party, not the people (whom it theoretically represents). And may I suggest an additional song that would put all the others into perspective: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.

    As for the Wen Wei Po article (wen [noun] – an abnormal growth or a cyst protruding from a surface, especially of the skin), who’s to say which of your phones is first and which is second? The point here is that, while the government may be telling the truth in saying that LeaveHomeSafe data is only stored on your phone and not transmitted to any agency, if you are arrested for any reason (or increasingly for no reason at all), the authorities can trawl through everything on your phone. Be sure to give them the right one.

  8. YTSL says:

    @Guest — I thought “Uneducated folks, those living in privileged bubbles” covered the “patriots”!

    @MT — Thanks for that gem. And yeah, I’d have taken Mike Forsythe to be a brighter spark than that. Certainly far more so than the likes of Keith Bradsher and the BBC’s Stephen McDonnell.

  9. justsayin says:

    Almost missed that subtle last line about ‘mass surveillance software on everybody’s mobile phone’ 🙂

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