China will step up scrutiny of Internet technology (Update)

May 22, 2014 by Joe Mcdonald

China's government announced Thursday it will examine information technology for possible security flaws, a move that comes amid tensions with Washington over accusations of cyber spying.

Experts will scrutinize products and services to be used for communications, finance, energy, national security and other purposes, the official Xinhua News Agency, citing the Cabinet's Internet Information Office. It said inspections will apply to both foreign- and Chinese-made products, and suppliers that fail will be barred from selling in China.

Vetting of products is aimed at "preventing suppliers from taking advantage of their products to illegally control, disrupt or shut down their clients' systems, or to gather, store, process or use their clients' information," the Internet office said, according to Xinhua.

The United States accuses China's military of conducting large-scale cyber spying to steal government and commercial secrets. Authorities announced criminal charges this week against five Chinese military officers. China denied the accusation and complained the United States is the leading source of hacking aimed at this country.

China has the world's biggest population of Internet users but major companies, government agencies and banks rely on foreign suppliers for advanced network and security technology.

Beijing has expressed concern about relying so heavily on foreign security technology. It has tried to compel foreign suppliers to disclose how security and encryption products work but backed down after U.S. and European complaints that such information was trade secrets.

The government tries to support China's fledgling suppliers by favoring them in procurement. Banks and major companies were ordered in 2010 to limit use of foreign security technology.

For their part, U.S. officials have expressed concern about possible risks of Chinese-supplied technology. In 2012, a congressional panel said telecom equipment makers Huawei Technologies Inc. and ZTE Corp. were potential security threats and Americans should avoid doing business with them.

Ensuring that IT technologies and cyberspace are "safe and under control" is vital to China's national security, economic and social development, said Jiang Jun, the Internet office's spokesman.

"For a long time, governments and enterprises of a few countries have gathered sensitive information," he was quoted as saying. "They not only seriously undermine interests of their clients but also threaten cyber security of other countries."

Jiang said Chinese government agencies, companies, universities and telecom companies have "suffered extensive invasion and wiretapping," according to Xinhua.

Last year, the American Chamber of Commerce in China appealed to the government to improve online security, which it said was "less reliable and less secure" that in the such countries as the United States, Europe or South Korea.

The group said that while two-thirds of its member companies use cloud computing, the proportion willing to base such operations in China had declined to below 50 percent due to security concerns. The group appealed to Beijing to repeal restrictions imposed in 1999 on use of foreign encryption and security technology.

Explore further: Microsoft to press China after Windows 8 ban

Related Stories

China investigating Qualcomm, InterDigital (Update)

February 19, 2014

Regulators are investigating whether U.S. technology companies Qualcomm and InterDigital violated China's anti-monopoly law by charging excessive fees for patent licenses, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

China demands answers from US over spying claims

March 24, 2014

China said Monday it was demanding an explanation from Washington over allegations U.S. intelligence agencies hacked into the email servers of Chinese tech giant Huawei and targeted top Chinese officials and government institutions.

Pentagon: Chinese government waging cyberattacks

May 6, 2013

(AP)—The Pentagon for the first time used its annual report on China to directly assert that Beijing's government and military have conducted computer-based attacks against the U.S., including efforts to steal information ...

Obama to confront Xi on cyber spying

June 5, 2013

President Barack Obama will tell Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that he must deal with cyber spying and hacking of US targets that originate inside his country when they meet for talks this week.

Recommended for you

New technique spots warning signs of extreme events

September 22, 2017

Many extreme events—from a rogue wave that rises up from calm waters, to an instability inside a gas turbine, to the sudden extinction of a previously hardy wildlife species—seem to occur without warning. It's often impossible ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.