Apple and Other Tech Companies Subject to Security Reviews in China

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Products sold by Apple have recently been subjected to security reviews conducted by a committee associated with China's Cyberspace Administration, reports The New York Times.

The security reviews aim to determine whether the products "pose potential security threats" to China and Chinese consumers and have required Apple employees to answer questions about encryption and data storage in person. Other foreign technology companies who operate in China are also being required to submit to the reviews.

According to The New York Times, the security reviews are notable because they are targeting consumer software and gadgets that are popular in China. In other countries, similar security reviews take place, but are limited to products that are used by the military or government officials. Chinese officials have not explained the reasoning behind the checks, nor have the reviews been formally disclosed, reportedly leading tech companies and the U.S. government to worry they're being used to obtain vital security info.
Ultimately, the reviews could be used to block products without explanation or to extract trade secrets in exchange for market access. Those secrets could be leaked to Chinese competitors or expose vulnerabilities, which, in turn, Chinese hackers could exploit.

Further, tech companies are concerned that the reviews could set a precedent and that other countries will follow suit, each demanding different checks that would not only be costly but also put the companies at risk of having to hand over further secrets in exchange for market access.
It is not known what specific information Chinese authorities have asked for under the review process, and there is no indication that technology companies have provided sensitive information like source code. In a statement, the Cyberspace Administration of China told The New York Times that many countries carry out security reviews and that its inspections do not target "any particular country or product."

During a recent congressional hearing, Apple legal chief Bruce Sewell said China had asked Apple to hand over source code within the last two years but the company refused to do so. "I want to be very clear on this," Sewell said. "We have not provided source code to the Chinese government."

After the United States, Greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, is Apple's second largest market by revenue. Apple is eager to grow its business in the country, but Apple has faced regulatory issues in recent weeks, including the forced shutdown of iTunes Movies and iBooks Stores in the country.

In a move that can perhaps be seen as an effort to smooth relations with China, Apple recently announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing and just this afternoon, it announced a major GarageBand update with support for Chinese musical instruments.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple and Other Tech Companies Subject to Security Reviews in China
 
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SHNXX

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I hope that one day 1.3 billion Chinese people can experience a freer internet without government monitoring and censorship, just like the ones we have in the US.... well, except the NSA and FBI reading emails and asking Apple to hand over master keys to encryption, of course.
 

Shirasaki

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I believe Chinese government has gone too far to protect their regime and so-called "national security", even with the cost of economy stall or even decline.

So long as such action continues, China will likely be the one being blamed on key international affairs and topics.
 
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pat500000

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During a recent congressional hearing, Apple legal chief Bruce Sewell said China had asked Apple to hand over source code within the last two years but the company refused to do so. "I want to be very clear on this," Sewell said. "We have not provided source code to the Chinese government."

The security reviews aim to determine whether the products "pose potential security threats" to China and Chinese consumers and have required Apple employees to answer questions about the products in person. Other foreign technology companies who operate in China are also being required to submit to the reviews.

- Sure...sure. So now what? You gonna give it up to the Chinese gov't? I mean, Tim, you were catering to the Chinese leaders and the people. Tim...I hope this regulatory issues beat you down like a dead dog and your 7 dwarfs (board members) toss you to curve. As of late..it appears that you want to go back to being COO...and I can see that by your actions.
 

FieldingMellish

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Apple getting a bite taken out of it as the price to access one of the largest markets in the world. What, you think China's going to just say, come on over and make obscene profits off of the Chinese? No way. China wants to squeeze Apple like a rag and extract whatever it is that China can. Because China Makes Apple. Apple does not make China. A grinning Tim, notwithstanding.
 
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LovingTeddy

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I am Chinese and I do not like Chinese government. I don't believe Chinese government is doing these for national security purpose.

However, if American government can block Huawei and ZTC in USA, then Chinese government can do the samething. Frankly, I think Chinese government should check all foreign companies and its products to protect our national interest. If American believe Huawei post national security threat to USA, then Chinese should also being concerned about American companies poss thread to Chinese national security.
[doublepost=1463444762][/doublepost]
Quote: "the Cyberspace Administration of China told The New York Times that many countries carry out security reviews and that its inspections do not target "any particular country or product."

Translation: We don't discriminate and steal trade secrets from everybody equally :D

It is not USA does not steal from others. USA is equally guilty on stealing tread secretes. Don't pretent you guys are clean.
 

macs4nw

macrumors 601
I am Chinese and I do not like Chinese government. I don't believe Chinese government is doing these for national security purpose.

However, if American government can block Huawei and ZTC in USA, then Chinese government can do the samething. Frankly, I think Chinese government should check all foreign companies and its products to protect our national interest. If American believe Huawei post national security threat to USA, then Chinese should also being concerned about American companies poss thread to Chinese national security.
Sorry, but when it comes to copying and stealing trade secrets, as well as respecting international law regarding IP, your country's reputation isn't that great.....
 

Shirasaki

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May 16, 2015
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I am Chinese and I do not like Chinese government. I don't believe Chinese government is doing these for national security purpose.

However, if American government can block Huawei and ZTC in USA, then Chinese government can do the samething. Frankly, I think Chinese government should check all foreign companies and its products to protect our national interest. If American believe Huawei post national security threat to USA, then Chinese should also being concerned about American companies poss thread to Chinese national security.
[doublepost=1463444762][/doublepost]


It is not USA does not steal from others. USA is equally guilty on stealing tread secretes. Don't pretent you guys are clean.
Problem here is however, that Chinese government has almost lost reputation on various areas, in various countries.
Remember some "glorious Africa construction plan to assist local economy boost"? Many of them are being abandoned eventually due to various reasons, and construction site goes deserted.
Sure, USA can block Huawei and ZTA, Xiaomi to enter USA market, and China definitely can do the same. However, based on some other things China has done to the world, like the one mentioned before, other countries would likely blame China and think negatively on the matter. Internet censorship is just a tip of the iceberg.
Frankly, both USA and China have something very common, but for which is unsure. I think USA is more like China in recent years. Such as FBI vs Apple, decryption bill, and strange censorship on Facebook posts.
 
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SHNXX

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Problem here is however, that Chinese government has almost lost reputation on various areas, in various countries.
Remember some "glorious Africa construction plan to assist local economy boost"? Many of them are being abandoned eventually due to various reasons, and construction site goes deserted.
Sure, USA can block Huawei and ZTA, Xiaomi to enter USA market, and China definitely can do the same. However, based on some other things China has done to the world, like the one mentioned before, other countries would likely blame China and think negatively on the matter. Internet censorship is just a tip of the iceberg.
Frankly, both USA and China have something very common, but for which is unsure. I think USA is more like China in recent years. Such as FBI vs Apple, decryption bill, and strange censorship on Facebook posts.
Is US really blocking Xiaomi and Huawei from entering US markets?
That's stupid.
 

Shirasaki

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May 16, 2015
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Is US really blocking Xiaomi and Huawei from entering US markets?
That's stupid.
I don't know, but at least for now, Huawei P9 can be bought in USA local store. Xiaomi? I suspect the class-action lawsuit this company would need to settle costs more than this company could earn.
 

JimmyHook

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Apr 7, 2015
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This is old news. Everyone knew that US tech companies faced security audits, but Apple never turned over iOS source code. Seriously old news. What part of this is new and worth a new NY Times story?
 

CFreymarc

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China is weaker than they are willing to admit. The higher the security, the more insecure the leaders is from being displaced. History has shown this time and time again.
 
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Zaqfalcon

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Mar 22, 2010
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Nobody knows what these Chinese reviews involve, if this were a European Union initiative no one would care less.
 

LovingTeddy

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China is weaker than they are willing to admit. The higher the security, the more insecure the leaders is from being displaced. History has shown this time and time again.
This could apply to USA as well. We see constant cry about security, someone wants build a wall, someone wants to block certain group coming to USA, FBI and CIA constantly monitoring regular citizen phone call etc.

At least China is not doing in global scale, where USA is.
 

dampfnudel

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Aug 14, 2010
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If the Chinese government continues down this path, we may see the day when Apple products and probably products from other companies/countries will no longer be manufactured nor sold in China. Maybe I'm wrong and companies like Apple will continue their delicate dance with the devil because the alternative wouldn't be good for their bottom line.
 
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