Sunday, January 29, 2023

Former Zoom China employee accused of censoring dissidents

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An old Zoom An employee working in China has been accused by the United States of conspiring to censor Chinese dissidents and interrupt a video conference commemorating the anniversary of the June 4, 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, say “Julien” Jin, 39, of Xinjiang was a telecommunications company based in San Jose, Calif., Which was the primary liaison with law enforcement and police. intelligence agencies of the People’s Republic of China. While Jin’s employer has not been identified by prosecutors, Zoom said on Friday that it was the company.

Jin lives in China and is not in detention, the United States said. The company, including videoconferencing the app became ubiquitous during the pandemic, excuse in June for closing four Tiananmen Square commemorations at the request of the Chinese government. Zoom made a commitment at the time not to let Chinese government requests affect users outside of China in the future.

In his statement on Friday, Zoom said he was cooperating with prosecutors and fired Jin after determining through an internal investigation that he had violated company policies. Zoom said other employees have been placed on administrative leave pending completion of its investigation. The company said it had also received subpoenas from federal prosecutors in California to obtain information about contacts between its employees and the Chinese government.

“Zoom is dedicated to the free and open exchange of ideas and supports the US government’s commitment to protect US interests from foreign influence,” the company said.

‘The Faustian market’

“The allegations in the lawsuit expose the Faustian market that the PRC government demands of US technology companies doing business within the borders of the PRC,” said Seth DuCharme, interim US prosecutor in Brooklyn, “ and the insider threat these businesses face. employees in the PRC. “

A Chinese citizen, Jin began working with Chinese officials and others in January 2019 to help end at least four video meetings held on company networks to mark the 31st anniversary of the massacre, DuCharme said. Most of them were organized and followed by dissidents based in the United States who had participated in and survived the protests of 1989.

“Jin willfully committed crimes and sought to mislead others within the company, to help the PRC authorities censor and punish the grassroots political discourse of American users simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, ”said DuCharme.

Jin is also accused of helping Chinese officials identify meeting attendees outside of China by providing their IP addresses, names and email addresses. Prosecutors say he also created bogus reasons to justify shutting down Zoom meetings and some user accounts, including bogus evidence that users violated the company’s terms of service.

As a result of its actions, China retaliated against family members of some of these US-based dissidents and meeting participants, according to the US.

More to read absolutely technological coverage of Fortune:


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