Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 15 News List

China to probe suppliers amid US cybersecurity row

Reuters, BEIJING

China will investigate providers of important IT products and services to protect national security and economic and social development, Xinhua news agency said yesterday, amid a row over cyberspying with the US.

Firms that do not pass the checks will no longer be allowed to supply their products and services in China, Xinhua cited the Chinese State Internet Information Office as saying. Products that do not meet security requirements will be banned.

The likely consequences of the ruling were not immediately clear, but it comes amid a heated dispute with the US, which Chinese media labeled a “high-level hooligan” on Wednesday in response to Washington charging five Chinese military officers with hacking US companies to steal trade secrets.

China has also banned new central government computers from using Windows 8, Microsoft Corp’s latest operating system.

Windows 8 exposes computers to monitoring and the risk of being controlled remotely, the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily newspaper reported yesterday, citing a US National Security Agency program called Prism.

Windows 8 was also not user-friendly, the Daily added.

Xinhua said the investigations would check product security and seek to prevent suppliers from illegally gathering, storing or processing user data.

“For a long time, governments and enterprises of a few countries have gathered sensitive information on a large scale, taking advantage of their monopoly in the market and technological edge,” Xinhua quoted Jiang Jun, spokesman for China’s State Council Information Office, as saying. “They not only seriously undermine interests of their clients, but also threaten cybersecurity of other countries.”

A small number of governments and businesses “take advantage of technological monopolies to collect sensitive data on a large scale” from the Chinese government, business and institutions, Xinhua added, saying there had been extensive wiretapping and security breaches.

Documents leaked by former US security contractor Edward Snowden “rang alarm bells” over cybersecurity, Jiang added.

Xinhua did not give details of which governments or businesses it was referring to, but US security standards for information technology were not transparent or clear-cut, Xinhua added.

China has also targeted other foreign technology firms in recent months, including Qualcomm Inc.

The antimonopoly regulator accused the US chip manufacturer of overcharging and abusing its global market position.

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