Apple will allow the Chinese government to perform security inspections on its products to quell concerns that they are used for surveillance of Chinese citizens, according to reports.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has allegedly conceded to requests from China’s State Internet Information Office to perform tests on iPhones, iPads and Mac computers so that they can continue being sold in the country, The Telegraph reported.
Cook reportedly had a meeting with Lu Wei, the department’s director, according to the Beijing News. Roughly translated, Cook is said to have told Wei that, although there were rumors to the contrary, Apple has never had any security backdoors or provided customer data to third parties.
Wei reportedly responded that Apple’s products would have to pass security audits performed by Chinese officers in order to ensure they were OK for customer use.
China is one of the biggest markets for Apple products, but its government has a history of distrust for the Cupertino-based company
China is one of the biggest markets for Apple products, but its government has a history of distrust for the Cupertino-based company. In fact, China has thrown out allegations at more than just Apple, such as IBM and Cisco.
In September of last year, shortly after the new iPhones were announced, Apple reassured the Chinese government that the devices do not have security backdoors that could be used by U.S. organizations to collect Chinese data.
A state-run television program in China accused Apple last summer of tracking people’s locations in China through the “frequent locations” feature on the phone. The report said that “those with access to that data could gain knowledge of China’s economic situation or ‘even state secrets.'”
Apple, of course, quickly rebuffed the allegations, saying that Frequent Locations are encrypted and not backed up on any sort of virtual cloud. Plus, the feature can be turned off.
“Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services,” reads a July statement. “We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.”
China has had its share of finger-pointing, too. In May of last year, the U.S. Justice Department indicted five members of the Chinese military for allegedly hacking American businesses. It was the first time that the department had charged a foreign government for cybercrimes.