Last week, the research lab I pitch in at published the first in a series of posts investigating censorship and privacy concerns in three chat applications: WeChat, LINE, and KakaoTalk. These instant messaging programs, which often replace text messages on smartphones, are expanding rapidly across the world. While WeChat has garnered most of the foreign press, LINE, a Japanese subsidiary of the Korean Internet giant Naver, is no pushover: it has over 200 million registered users, generated $130 million in revenue last year, and is poised for a $10 billion market cap value when it goes public next year.
I’ve already written a number of blog posts translating and describing some of the 150 words that were initially revealed to be on LINE’s “bad words” list. This list, uncovered by Twitter users @hirakujira, was thought to be a precursor to future censorship by the LINE application, but The Citizen Lab’s recent reports uncovered a second set of 370 keywords which do trigger censorship—but only for users who have registered with a Chinese phone number. Thus, LINE users in China would receive error messages when sending messages that contain any of these keywords and asterisked-out text when receiving them.
In addition to the series of 21 blog posts I did on the first chunk of the original list of uncovered “bad words” in LINE, I have translated the remainder of the 150 keywords on the original list as well as translated the majority of the 370 keywords on the recently decrypted list in the following spreadsheets:
- Translation of Line “bad words” list extracted by @hirakujira and confirmed by Citizen Lab (150 words)
- Translation of LINE censorship list decrypted by Citizen Lab (370 words)