Apple May Allow Product Security Inspections by Chinese Government Officials

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Giving Access to Chinese Authorities For “Security Checks” on Apple Devices.

While there was no other information available on the paper’s website, the tweet echoes a report in the Beijing News (link in Chinese) that Apple chief executive Tim Cook informed Lu last month that Apple would let China’s State Internet Information Office conduct “security checks” on all products that it sells on the mainland. In a move to gain better access to the tech market in China, Apple has agreed to offer its line of products for Internet security evaluation by the Chinese regime, reported the state-run Beijing News on Jan. 21.

China has been concerned that Apple devices like the iPhone enable the company—or worse, US intelligence agencies—to spy on Chinese citizens. “There were rumors that Apple built back doors in its devices, and let third parties have data and access those devices, but that was never true and that we would never do that in the future either,” Cook reportedly said. Tim Cook met with the country’s Internet and Information office last December to discuss Apple’s plans in China, and has since consented to the government’s demands that they be allowed screen products for the fabled NSA backdoor. According to a spokesperson who was also present at the meeting, Cook has assured Chinese officials that Apple will fully cooperate with the governments wishes to have products inspected for security concerns. Cook reportedly told Lu that Apple products do not give data to third parties. “We did not, and will not provide a back door,” the news story quoted him as saying. He shared that the Chinese customers would feel more secure if they knew that their products have been passed through the Chinese authorities and so their personal information is safe.

No doubt China is Apple’s most important market, analyst’s thinks that the company is giving access to Beijing, to its OS source code, in return they allow company to continue its business in China. We must draw our own conclusions, so that users can feel secure using these products.” “Apple might hand over its source code to the Chinese government,” said Charlie Smith (a pseudonym), one of the activists of GreatFire.org in an email.

Apple responded by pointing out that location data is stored on the phone, not on Apple’s servers, and is encrypted … China was also claimed to have banned government purchasing of Apple products last summer, though this was later explained as merely a temporary administrative matter. If Beijing obtains Apple’s source code, “It might make it easier for China to find vulnerabilities in its product, which might be used to compromise Apple devices,” Smith added. Inside knowledge would make it much easier for the Chinese government to find bugs and vulnerabilities in Apple’s products, he said, and “the government can then exploit such vulnerabilities to hack iPhone or MacBooks.” Hackers tried to infiltrate Apple’s iCloud servers in China in October, according to GreatFire, in an attempt to steal user credentials. If that is in fact what has been agreed, it’s a landmark deal, Cavender said, and Apple has not generally provided such information to other governments. “This is a unique situation where China is such an important market to Apple, and they need to be in it.

Inside China, users are likely to be blasé about any attempts by the government to use its access to snoop on Apple users. “People here kind of operate under the assumption that the government is already looking at what they’re doing,” Cavender said. Apple is now storing Chinese people data within the People’s Republic, which is run by China Telecom, a state-owned firm, to ease security concerns.

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