According to authorities, a man named Xuehua Edward Peng was arrested for espionage in the Bay Area. He would periodically communicate the subjects of documents initially via telephone to his handlers in the CCP.
If we unravel this case, it is made clear that there was never any ‘real’ risk to the public — the source of the documents was a double agent themselves, who in turn was selling out Mr. Peng to authorities. The U.S. was, allegedly, never at risk since the information left for Peng was misinformation in the first place. The individual providing these documents had been approached for espionage work by the Chinese government but decided to inform the U.S. government instead. This communication went on for several years. From 2015 when he was first contacted, most likely by a Ministry of State Security (MSS) agent, until 2019 this individual was ferrying information back to China. It is likely that this type of behavior frequently slips by our intelligence apparatus.
An important part of the article:
“Peng was paid “at least $30,000 for the acts” he performed as a courier, according to the agreement. Communications were done by telephone at first and then by the encrypted chat platform WeChat.”
A key point here we would like to dispute is the notion that WeChat is an encrypted chat platform. It is no such thing. In fact, all communications that transit the WeChat application and servers are actively monitored by the CCP surveillance apparatus. This includes both automated scanning for controversial topics as well as a manual review of all communications on the platform. WeChat is the opposite of secure — its data is mined by Communist China by AI and Machine Learning algorithms that search for ‘threats’. There are many similarities to the situation playing out with TikTok in this case — it is yet another example of the failure of our industry to self regulate, and government to implement meaningful technology restrictions to safeguard Americans’ data. Pandora’s box opened a long time ago — and now we are seeing the results in the form of friendly-looking espionage software installed on your, and your children’s cell phones.
Instead, CCP owned companies (as all companies are in Communist China) are able to build highly advanced and detailed threat models and profiles based on the data they receive from willing users every day. It should come as no surprise to our readers that American technology companies are forbidden from doing business with users in Mainland China unless they comply with strict regulations overseen by the CCP itself. These, obviously, include the ability to do mass censorship as well as mass surveillance. Consumers are blissfully ignorant — and in many cases unlikely to care that Communist China even has access to their data, out of ignorance and a feeling that they are ‘safe’ at home.
This is simply one instance that represents a pattern of bad behavior from CCP- owned mobile apps. The reason given for this ban was a lie — and the individual was banned because they spoke out against the oppression committed by the CCP every day in Xinjiang.
In our recent article about Huawei 5G, we cover the National Security threat of what a Huawei implementation would mean for our country. As it is with Huawei, the CCP would have us all believe that WeChat is a “secure messaging app”, and therefore that Huawei would be a secure platform, but the truth is that any data transiting through either system in any way would be decrypted or blocked outright. In a world with Huawei 5G installed — this article from Buzzfeed is automatically censored and blocked — and it never becomes visible, despite what the CCP says about its intentions.
It is disappointing to find that these apps, which are infiltrating our society at an alarming rate — and serve primarily as espionage outposts on our cell phones, are still publicly available to United States citizens given the security threat they pose. We wonder if the leadership of the CCP Is more easily capable of finding blackmail material due to the depth of penetration they’ve already accomplished. Major privacy violations and concerns should abound.