China has revealed new plans to increase government surveillance of its citizen's internet use, leading many security experts to question why hacker collective Anonymous hasn't taken notice.
The New Laws
The Chinese authorities reportedly ordered all cafes, hotels and businesses in the central Beijing area to install new surveillance technology to monitor WiFi users. Company's that fail to install the new tech have been threatened with hefty fines, or even full closure.
The measures add to the country's already strong internet censorship and monitoring policy. The country already blocks all major private networks, making it easier for the government to keep track of what its citzens are looking at.
The new software costs around £1,900 and allows Chinese authorities to check the identities and sites visited by each individual user.
As yet it appears that only the Doncheng province of Beijing has seen businesses outright ordered to install the new tech. Though, speaking to the Guardian, a representative of the city's internet security unit did reportedly clarify that the new surveillance measures are a city-wide initiative -- the Police Headquarters itself is yet to confirm or deny this.
Despite the open nature of the surveillance, hacker collective Anonymous has been uncharacteristically silent. The group is in the midst of its ongoing AntiSec campaign. The campaign was launched as "a protest" by Anonymous against internet censorship and moderation.
Yet, despite the fact that China has consistently passed and enforced policies contrary to Anonymous' ideology the group is yet to enact any real attack on the country. The group's silence has led many to question why this is. To date Anonymous has inflicted a number of attacks on the Turkish government for similar and in some case lesser steps to monitor or censor the internet.
Anonymous and China's Previous Interactions
Anonymous has had issues with China in the past. When the country first announced its Green Dam Youth Escort initiative Anonymous went so far as to "declare war". The group went on to threaten to enact a serious cyber attack on Chinese Government websites should the software become mandatory by law.
The Green Dam Youth Escort initiative was an attempt by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to have every home-use computer in China installed with the Green Dam software. The software would allow the departement to monitor and censor the computer user's personal internet use.
Anonymous' threat of attack was often seen as one of the contributing factors that led to the Chinese Government stalling and eventually abandoning the initiative -- the software is still available but on a voluntary basis.
Anonymous too Busy to Deal With China?
One possible explanation for Anonymous lack of interest in China could be that it's too busy fighting a battle closer to home.
The group has recently seen 21 potential members arrested, with at least four now actively helping the law enforcement agencies in their investigations.
Perhaps as a consequence of the arrests, since the news spread the group has shifted its focus. Outside of a recent attack on NATO, alot of its recent hacks have been enacted in "revenge", either for the alleged Anonymous members arrests or a statement that Anonymous took exception to.
Most recently the group has re-targeted the Italian Cyber Police for its part in and subsequent statements regarding alleged Anonymous members arrest within the country.