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A month ago, the Open Technology Fund, which is some kind of anti-cyber-censorship project funded by the US government, posted a forensic study of a Chinese app called "Jingwang" or "Net Guard". A week ago, a question about Jingwang was posted here, linking to the study, and became a "hot network question" on Stack Exchange (that's how I got here).

This app has been mentioned in western media for months, as a surveillance tool being employed in Xinjiang. Last week's question says police were stopping people on the streets and demanding that they install the app on their phones.

Back in April, a Chinese member of Quora tried to find the app on the Chinese Internet. The closest he came, was a PC program of the same name, for blocking pornography.

Appendix 1 of the American forensic report says the app can be obtained by scanning a QR code on "the main JingWang website", and provides the QR code and the URL.

I would like to know answers to questions like:

Is this thing real? What does it actually do? Can you download it from outside China? (I haven't dared try.) Is it distributed in an unusual way (compared to other apps in China), or is it just that it has become a civic duty to install it on your phone?

  • 3
    This sounds more like a question for Skeptics than for this site. – Tom K. Oct 1 '18 at 7:47
  • Most of your questions are answered by your links. – schroeder Oct 1 '18 at 19:05
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From reading the OTF - Jingwang Report Final (pdf)

The QR code (see image below) seems to be the initial point of download and installation of the application, whose app_name (净网卫士) roughly translates to Net Guard. The QR code decodes to an URL (hxxp://47.93.5.238:8081/APP/GA_AJ_JK/GA_AJ_JK_GXH.apk?AJLY=650102000000) which points to will perform a download of the APK file. Directing a phone to this link triggers a download of an APK named GA_AJ_JK_GXH.apk.

If you had a vpn in china you might be able to pull it from there.

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