Recommendation: Practitioners Should Avoid Using Software With Ties to China
(Minghui.org) The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has control over companies in China. It can require IT companies that produce service software to hand over customers’ private information to the government, based on “China’s laws,” even if those are western companies.
Software from companies with ties to China is a special concern for Falun Gong practitioners, as the persecution of Falun Gong is still continuing in China.
The current popular online video conferencing software Zoom is an example. The company was founded by a Chinese person. Most of its employees are in China. There have been several security issues reported about this software since last year:
- Zoom has claimed “point-to-point encryption” (this means that information is encrypted between each user’s computer or mobile device, and therefore, in theory, no one else, including the company itself, can see the content). But reports emerged recently that this claim was false and Zoom can access the content of any meeting hosted on Zoom's servers.
- It has been recently reported that the software sends the meeting’s secret key to its servers in China, even if the meeting is among people outside of China.
- It has been reported that Zoom can monitor which software packages are running on its user’s machine and which windows the user clicks on.
- There is also a report that Zoom allows websites to control the user’s computer to join video conference meetings that the user is not aware of, and open the user’s computer camera.
This means that it is not safe to use Zoom. Even installing Zoom may not be secure.
Given Zoom’s background with China, it is not surprising to see this happening. Some Western organizations have realized Zoom's security problems and begun to pull away from it.
A Reuters article on April 1, 2020 reported that Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has banned the use of Zoom, citing “significant privacy and security concerns.”
An article by The Guardian on April 2, 2020, wrote that “Zoom is malware” and “the app is a ‘privacy disaster'.’’
Concerned about online security issues, “School districts, including New York City’s, start banning Zoom,” reported Washington Post on April 4, 2020.
We recommend that practitioners also stay away from Zoom and other similar programs. We should check the background of the software maker before adopting a new software. We shall not install software related to mainland China on computers and mobile phones used for Dafa projects.
If such software with security concerns is needed for work, we recommend installing the software on a separate computer or a virtual machine, to avoid interference with the computer used for Dafa projects.