where is the article?
people need to know this
New York Times
By Nicole Hong
Dec. 18, 2020
In a novel case, federal prosecutors on Friday brought criminal charges against an executive at Zoom, the videoconferencing company, accusing him of engaging in a conspiracy to disrupt and censor video meetings commemorating one of the most politically sensitive events in China.
Prosecutors said the executive, Xinjiang Jin, who is based in China, fabricated reasons to suspend accounts of people in New York who were hosting memorials on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and coordinated with Chinese officials to identify potentially problematic meetings.
He is accused of working with others to log into the video meetings under aliases using profile pictures that related to terrorism or child pornography. Afterward, Mr. Jin would report the meetings for violating terms of service, prosecutors said.
At least four meetings commemorating the massacre this year — largely attended by U.S.-based users — were terminated as a result of Mr. Jin’s actions, according to prosecutors.
Mr. Jin, who is also known as Julien Jin, acted as the liaison between Zoom and Chinese government authorities, prosecutors said. He is identified in the criminal complaint only as an employee of a U.S. telecommunications company. Zoom confirmed on Friday that it was the company.
Mr. Jin has not been arrested and is at large in China, which does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
Read the Criminal Complaint Against Julien Jin
Mr. Jin is accused of engaging in a conspiracy to censor Zoom users in the United States.
The case represented an unusually sharp warning by law enforcement officials to American technology companies that operate in China, which often find themselves caught between the principles of free speech and the demands of China’s censorship machine.
“Americans should understand that the Chinese government will not hesitate to exploit companies operating in China to further their international agenda, including repression of free speech,” Christopher Wray, director of the F.B.I., said in a statement.
A spokesman for Zoom said on Friday that Mr. Jin violated its policies by attempting to circumvent internal controls. Mr. Jin has been fired, and other Zoom employees have been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an internal investigation.
In a lengthy statement, the company said it has since provided end-to-end encryption for all users and restricted access for China-based employees to Zoom’s global network.
The company has its headquarters in San Jose, Calif., and has hundreds of employees in China.
Charging a China-based employee working for an American company is an aggressive rebuke against China, which requires tech companies that operate there to monitor user activity in order to censor politically sensitive topics.
Seth DuCharme, the acting U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, whose office brought the case, said the allegations exposed the security vulnerabilities of American tech companies that engage in the “Faustian bargain” of operating in China.