Video-on-demand (VOD) provider Bilibili (嗶哩嗶哩) has become the second Chinese service to draw the attention of security officials after it was found to be renting server space in Taiwan.
The Institute of National Defense and Security Research in April confirmed its findings that China’s largest VOD provider, iQiyi (愛奇藝), which operates in Taiwan, is used by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office as part of Beijing’s “united front” efforts.
Information security consultant Abbygail Wu (吳伊婷) yesterday confirmed that Bilibili rents space on servers in Taiwan owned by Chief Telecom (是方電訊), a subsidiary of Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信).
The National Communications Commission (NCC) is aware of the issue and would require Chief Telecom to cease renting server space to Bilibili, a source said.
Wu said she was motivated to investigate other Chinese VOD services after suspicions about iQiyi arose.
After tracing IP addresses to which Bilibili users in Taiwan connected, she found that they belonged to Chief Telecom, she said, adding that the company likely wanted to use local servers to provide fast connections for Taiwanese users.
Chinese VOD services abound in Taiwan, even though they are not officially allowed to operate in the nation, she said.
The operation of such services contravenes provisions in the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) and is a national security concern, she said.
The Executive Yuan said it is looking into which government agencies should be implicated in the case.
The Mainland Affairs Council said that the issue was a contravention of the act, as Article 40-1 states that Chinese companies may not engage in business activity in Taiwan without the permission of relevant authorities, and Article 34 prohibits the Chinese Communist Party from disseminating political propaganda in Taiwan.
Chief Telecom president Liu Yao-yuan (劉耀元) said that Bilibili is only one of the firm’s content distribution network clients and that the two companies have no direct relationship.
NCC acting spokesperson Hsiao Chi-hung (蕭祈宏) said that the law prohibits Taiwanese telecoms from hosting or distributing content that is deemed a national security threat or breaks any laws.
Additional reporting by Chung Li-hua and Huang Pei-chun
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