Apple May Allow Product Security Inspections by Chinese Government Officials

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly consented to security inspections of the company's products by Chinese government officials, reports The Beijing News [Via ITworld]. The inspections will look for backdoors that provide third-party access to sensitive and private data stored on Apple devices.

    These spot inspections were part of an agreement forged between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Lu Wei, director of China's State Internet Information Office. The pair met last year to talk about the security of Apple's products, including the upcoming Apple Watch. Wei expressed concerned that Apple's devices may compromise the security of the Chinese government and the privacy of Apple device owners in China.

    During their conversation, Cook reportedly told Lu that Apple's devices do not contain a backdoor to share data with government entities or other third-party services. Despite these assurances, Wu supposedly insisted on these security assessments so the Chinese government can examine Apple's products firsthand.

    China increasingly is an important market for Apple with sales in the Asian nation projected to continue to rise in the coming years. Apple recently confirmed plans to open five new retail locations in China over the next five weeks. The company has been heavily promoting these grand openings, making retail head Angela Ahrendts available for interview by Chinese media sources and hiring renowned calligrapher Wang Dongling to design a mural for the upcoming West Lake store in Hangzhou.

    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 May Allow Product Security Inspections by Chinese Government Officials
  2. vito macrumors 6502a

    Apr 4, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    next we'll hear about China wanting to add a backdoor for "security reasons"
  3. centauratlas macrumors 65816


    Jan 29, 2003
    Let us all inspect it then. Or the eff and ieee and ...
  4. marioguarneros macrumors regular


    Nov 2, 2011
    English is not my first language so please ignore me if I am mistaken but wouldn't it be better to write it as follows?:

    "China is an increasingly important market…"
  5. mac1984user, Jan 23, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2015

    mac1984user macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2009
    United Kingdom
    So...what about those security holes the Chinese government finds and doesn't tell Apple about? Oh well, such is the dominance of the 'free market'......
  6. JHankwitz macrumors 68000

    Oct 31, 2005
    Ha! No doubt China wants a close look and details so they can figure out how they can break into our devices.
  7. Keniutek macrumors 6502


    Oct 6, 2011
    You just don't ******* with China :D. They do what they want, how they want and when they want.
  8. Tankmaze macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2012
    Apple will do everything in their power to keep the chinese government happy... Their population unmistakably $$$$ in apple's pocket.
  9. RobertMartens macrumors 65816


    Aug 29, 2002
    Tokyo, Japan
    Hmmm seven letter long swear word attributed to China

    I give up, wait... is it FREEDOM?


    You are cute, and don't let anyone pick on you about your English.
    And yes, your suggestion is accepted and a much nicer way to say it.

    But you are much to busy to correct this site. It would be a full time job. (For no pay)
  10. 2457282 Suspended

    Dec 6, 2012
    I don't understand what China is getting here. Closer inspection? Why not just pick up a phone at the store and play with it all you want (like they have not already done that...)? Why not just go to the factories and do a "safety" inspection?

    Unless I am missing something, this seems to be nothing more than a political move to show that China is in charge and that Apple cannot just do whatever they want. Otherwise, I am not seeing anything that China actually gets by this demand.
  11. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    If Apple's code is good then you can't break in, no matter how close you look at the sources. And if Apple's code is as bad as OpenSSL then the auditors will _know_ that there will be bugs hidden deep inside the morasses of the code but with no chance of ever understanding that code well enough to actually locate the bugs.

    _If_ there was code put in by the NSA and Apple, then you wouldn't find it that way.
  12. Ledgem macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    They want to make sure that there are no backdoors. That means examining things like hardware design and software code. It's invasive and, given China's lax regard for copyright, risky for Apple.

    The saddest thing about this is that, as an American, I'd find it kind of reassuring if China were to conduct its audits and decide that Apple's products were safe to use. I don't have "anything to hide," nor am I worried about the government spying specifically on me, but I think that some massive overreach has occurred and continues to occur.

    Who would have thought that I, as a citizen of the self-proclaimed freest country on earth, would want to find verifications of privacy and freedoms on my electronics through the audit by a repressive foreign government? This is a pretty sad state of affairs.
  13. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    I think they're saying that they want to do the inspections before the device is allowed to be sold in China. If they're getting them at the store to play with them it's already too late.
  14. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Apple must have paid the kickback to the corrupt Chinese official. :rolleyes:
  15. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    Come on guys. After all the NSA leaks I think it's completely fair for another country to want to ensure that they aren't being spied on this way. Just as we want to be sure Chinese technology isn't being used to spy on us. If I was Chinese I would expect my government to do these kinds of checks. Good on apple for allowing it to backup their stance that they don't allow their products to be used for spying.
  16. retroneo macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
  17. barkomatic macrumors 601

    Aug 8, 2008
    This is not a "reasonable" thing at all but Apple capitulating so that they are allowed to sell products in China most likely. You really think the Chinese government's only interest in this this "inspection" is to protect privacy?
  18. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    Dude, that's what this is all about. These officials are not looking FOR backdoors, they are going to be installing their own, guaranteed!
  19. TsunamiTheClown macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
    Very interesting article honestly. The level of paranoia over the new digital frontier is hard to overstate.

    The EU has been pretty upset that their _aren't_ back doors (that they know of) to decrypt data transmitted over iMessage, etc, etc.

    I really believe that the Chinese government is probably more worried that there aren't backdoors than they are worried that they are there. I think that they just want to know the lay of the land and how to control 3rd party access to data rather than prevent 3rd party access entirely.

    If the Chinese want to _completely_ prevent 3rd party access to consumer data then they would be in the vast minority when it comes to State actors. I really find this hard to really believe. I can't see China being the last holdout for true privacy at the consumer level.
  20. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Only that you wouldn't hear about it ...
  21. jweinraub macrumors 6502


    Jun 26, 2007
    Sol III
    I honestly had suspected that was the motivation the entire time!
  22. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    Yes, although I doubt it's the privacy of ordinary Chinese citizens they're concerned about. Far more likely, they're interested in the privacy of members of the Chinese government.

    How is it not reasonable? I explained how it was reasonable by comparing it with something else you consider reasonable, and you simply responded with saying it wasn't reasonable without any logic backing up your position.
  23. Chatter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2013
    Uphill from Downtown
    Who is going to inspect it AFTER the Chinese "inspect" it to make sure ... well, I won't say much. I think I am being tracked :eek:
  24. ChazSch macrumors 6502


    May 7, 2014
    Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
    this explains why Apple close up the back door on they could get into China
  25. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    You seem to claim that there was a back door on iMessage at some point. Any evidence for that or just pure speculation on your side? Could you at least give any sane reason why Apple would have a backdoor in iMessage? Because I can't think of one.

    That's not "the EU". That's some stupid politicians in the EU. They think that they can stop terrorists by decrypting their messages, even though in every single case so far they actually had knowledge that wasn't acted upon. And they completely ignore the fact that these terrorists also had massive amounts of military weapons, and doing everything possible to stop the trade in military weapons would be much more effective in stopping terrorists, and wouldn't have any negative effect on the average person in the country.

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47 January 23, 2015