Report: Chinese Government Can Access Deleted ‘WeChat’ Messages

The icons for Tencent Holdings Ltd. applications WeChat, clockwise from top left, QQ, JOOX, Tencent News and Tencent Video are arranged for a photograph on an Apple Inc. iPhone taken in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Tencent is scheduled to release second-quarter earnings figures on Aug 16. …
Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Chinese government has been accessing deleted WeChat messages without a warrant, leading to easy crackdowns on dissidents.

According to Business Insider, Chinese authorities were able to get a confession after they retrieved deleted messages from an “anti-corruption body” without a warrant.

Though WeChat parent company Tencent claimed they had no part in retrieving the deleted data, they explained that authorities were using technology “that helps users restore their own deleted conversations.”

“It is the same technology used to recover important files on computers,” the company declared. “WeChat does not store any chat histories. They are stored only on users’ phones, computers or other devices… We have neither the authority nor the motive to look into users’ chat histories.”

However, Business Insider claimed this “isn’t necessarily true,” noting the country’s cybersecurity law which forces companies “to store all network logs for at least six months, and store all user data on servers located in China.”

WeChat has been the center of attention in previous censorship debates, with reports revealing that images sent privately to friends can be blocked in transit.

In November, it was reported that Tencent had surpassed Facebook in worth, becoming the first Asian company to be valued at more than half a trillion dollars.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.

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