Recent disruptions experienced by KakaoTalk and Line users in China have been explained. The Chinese government has informed their South Korean counterparts that the problems are due to the two popular instant messaging services being block to combat terrorism in the country. South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said China had confirmed it had blocked “some foreign messaging applications through which terrorism-related information” was circulating.
“The ministry will continue negotiations with relevant Chinese counterparts to ensure that service disruptions for KakaoTalk and Line as well as inconvenience for the users in China are resolved as early as possible,” the ministry said in a statement.
China is apparently clamping down on communications channels that could possibly be used by terrorists to plot attacks. It informed South Korea that these organisations were using instant messaging apps to incite attacks and even share information on how to make bombs. Whether there is any truth to this statement is up for question, as the popularity of the apps would make them extremely vulnerable to surveillance and lead the authorities directly to anyone using it for illegal activities. Especially when a country like China that has more than one military unit dedicated to cyber-security.
Both KakaoTalk and Line have declined to comment on the matter, although it appears that the communist government is stepping up efforts to keep foreign technology companies away from its shores. Which is likely as it has recently taken all foreign companies off its approved security software vendor list, and banned government officials from using Apple products.