Super App = Super Danger?

How Privacy relates to Human Dignity

Attention! From now on, you are blocked on all channels — private and business. You will no longer have access to your social media accounts, your banking app, and even delivery services will no longer be available to you, effective immediately. Justification: Your private communication does not comply with the current political doctrine. Dystopia? This is exactly what happened recently in Asia.

One Ring to rule them all

The Chinese “super app” WeChat from the tech company Tencent has become an indispensable part of everyday life for citizens of the People’s Republic of China. The app offers communication (chat, video calls, etc.), navigation, but also and above all very convenient payment (e-wallet, Hongbao/Red-Enevelope, QR code) and much more. It is so widespread in China that even the needy and homeless people use it to collect monetary donations. WeChat has become indispensable for social participation in China.

What’s behind all this?

Everything needed for daily interaction comes from a single source; that sounds far too good to be true. Western users, meanwhile, have to rely on a variety of apps to achieve a similar benefit. However, one does not have to look far for the catch to this major advantage of WeChat. A centralized system that is so deeply integrated into the everyday lives of nearly 1.2 billion people and offers such a high number of elementary services always poses the risk of control, censorship, or the chilling effect — regardless of the form of government or legislation. Especially when such a large platform does not offer encryption according to the current state of technology (e.g. end-to-end-encryption as in WhatsApp or Telegram). As the saying goes, “If you want one, you have to love the other”. Do we really have to make this compromise?

Missing End-to-End Encryption

Nowadays, secure end-to-end encryption is the basis of any good messenger (see Telegram, Signal, Threema, and even WhatsApp), and yet WeChat deliberately omits it. Until now, this lack of end-to-end encryption was a purely theoretical risk, although in the Chinese People’s Republic it must be assumed that communications are monitored using standard practice. Now, it turns out that these theoretical risks have unfortunately become bitter reality for many users. Instead of being able to log into their accounts as usual, numerous users have been permanently blocked “in accordance with the relevant Internet guidelines and laws and regulations.” This is what the standard message from WeChat says.

Risks for Businesses

However, this surveillance does not only affect users. The Chinese government is exerting great pressure on tech companies. While foreign companies are often concerned with a Western-style freedom of information that is to be censored, Chinese tech corporations are also increasingly coming under the spotlight. Double standard. The companies are accused of violations of applicable data protection regulations. But the law that provides the basis for this has a “blind spot,” as the Süddeutsche Zeitung has already headlined. Due to legal requirements, providers such as Tencent are even obligated to grant access and the possibility of monitoring users must also be guaranteed. This was one of the reasons that led Google to withdraw almost completely from the Chinese market in 2010, albeit only until their quiet return in 2018.

Living in Fear?

The permanent blocking of user accounts at WeChat shows how quickly a thoughtless statement can lead to losing access to one’s digital identity and, moreover, to losing one’s social connection. While this kind of thing falls under freedom of expression in Western cultures, it is obviously different in totalitarian systems. How would you react if you were to lose all access to your messengers, Google- or Apple-Pay, favorites, navigation, etc. from one moment to the next — and “only” because your thinking did not fit the current political doctrine?

If you look at the research results of Dolores Albarracin from the University of Urbana-Champaign in this context, you can see which mechanisms are at work here. It makes it clear how much influence this approach has on people’s control. First and foremost, consumption and financial data, because in our materialistic and consumption-driven world, these represent the linchpin of our actions. In Germany, this is still science fiction (from the year 1984) — and yet our conclusion is this:

With wunderbon Privacy Wallet, you won’t face such censorship or even blocking! Our system is not only detached from the classic financial system, but also end-to-end encrypted thanks to the latest cryptography. Confidential communication, transactions, use of bonus programs and so much more. Apart from the fact that no one is able (neither governmental institutions, secret services, nor anyone else) to look into the communication and transactions that are processed via wunderbon, at least we don’t intend to neither today nor tomorrow.

Support our Mission

No BNPL, no exclusion of people without bank accounts, no requirements for banks or credit scoring companies in our network. Financial transaction without borders from human to human worldwide. This is what we at wunderbon stand for.

If you also value confidential and secure communication and are interested in a free ecosystem far away from the existing financial system that also includes people without an account or with a low credit score, we would be very happy about your support. Follow us on our channels, like our posts, and most importantly, “Share the good news!” — every supporter is important. Register here for free.