China classifies software as Violent Terrorism (暴力恐怖软件)

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-17-40-00Global Voices reported today on a leaked document indicating  in China, certain software is classified as violent terrorist software.   In the cast of the leaked document, the software is classified as grade two violent terrorist software (二级暴力恐怖软件). While the software is not named in the document, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS/公安部) document does provide the software’s  MD5 hash;

c4a22435b4e78d81d568b95482b675fb

The hash correlates to a piece of software developed for use with the Android operating system as an APK (Android Application Package) called fqrouter.  fqrouter is an open source project, hosted on github (https://github.com/fqrouter/fqrouter).   Based on the project comments the app appears aimed at Chinese speaking users and useful for defeating the controls imposed by the GFWC (Great Firewall of China or 防火长城).  In Chinese this type is software is frequently known as 翻墙软件 or climbing over the wall software.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-21-25-16The MPS’s classification of grade two or second degree  violent terrorist software (二级暴力恐怖软件) is new and interesting as I’ve never seen it before and there does not appear to be any public instances of a definition of this term or what would constitute a 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree or grade “violent terrorist software”.  The classification of software into these levels, and association of these types of  software with a major crime category, such as terrorism, should be considered disturbing not only for those that are seeking to freely view information but also to to the any travelers to the PRC.

UPDATE: In my initial analysis, I worked under the assumption that the MPS and other PRC entities may actually have some manifest of software or tools categorized by political/criminal threat level, in this case “violent terrorism”. China’s government already employs a multitude of similar lists for software and internet services for use by government Internet monitors, but I hadn’t ever seen these categories.  Further investigation indicates that in this event the grading is linked to a reporting bonus and not a specific categorized list of “evil” software.

It appears the phrase or term “second degree violent terrorist software” (二级暴力恐怖软件) may be a bit of a misnomer.  The second degree (二级) may be part of an evidence or citizen’s report bonus (奖励) system known as the “Incentives for citizen’s reporting  violence, involving terrorism-related criminal activities” (群众举报涉恐涉暴违法犯罪活动奖励办法)[1] scheme that some municipalities in the China are advertising in order to develop a “Popular Front” (人民战线) against terrorism.  The four tier system offers a reward or incentive, cash values are enumerated below,  for different types of clues reported to the local MPS.  At this point the actual definition of what constitutes level 1 clue bonus as opposed to a level 2 clue bonus remains elusive other than some level of participation in the “prevention or detection of a violent terrorism incident” (指为防范或侦破暴力恐怖事件).

Clue Reward Payout Scheme[2]

  • 一级线索 (Level 1) Not to exceed ¥40,000 CNY (≈$5900 USD)
  • 二级线索(Level 2) ¥20,000 CNY to ¥30,000 CNY
  • 三级线索(Level 3) ¥1,000 CNY to ¥10,000 CNY
  • 四级线索(Level 4) ¥50 CNY to ¥1,000 CNY

[1] “新疆出台上交涉恐涉暴物品奖励办法”.  http://news.qq.com/a/20130707/003171.htm  Jul 07, 2013.

[2] “群众举报涉恐涉暴违法犯罪 一级线索奖励不少于4万”. http://www.cncn.gov.cn/art/2016/8/9/art_3276_236954.html Aug 9, 2016

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