Chat program censorship and surveillance in China: Tracking TOM-Skype and Sina UC

Jedidiah R. Crandall, Masashi Crete-Nishihata, Jeffrey Knockel, Sarah McKune, Adam Senft, Diana Tseng, Greg Wiseman


In this paper, we present an analysis of over one year and a half of data from tracking the censorship and surveillance keyword lists of two instant messaging programs used in China. Through reverse engineering of TOM-Skype and Sina UC, we were able to obtain the URLs and encryption keys for various versions of these two programs and have been downloading the keyword blacklists daily. This paper examines the social and political contexts behind the contents of these lists, and analyzes those times when the list has been updated, including correlations with current events.


Internet censorship; Internet surveillance; China

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