to probe tech suppliers for security checks amid row
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[May 22, 2014]
By Li Hui and Megha
BEIJING (Reuters) - China
will investigate providers of important IT products and
services to protect "national security" and "economic
and social development", the official Xinhua news agency
said on Thursday, amid a row over cyber spying with the
Companies that don't pass the checks will no longer be allowed to
supply products and services in China, Xinhua cited the State
Internet Information Office as saying. Products that don't 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 United States, after
Washington charging five Chinese military officers with hacking U.S.
companies to steal trade secrets.
The Chinese media on Wednesday labelled the U.S. government a
"high-level hooligan", while official in Beijing have accused
Washington of "double standards" on issues of cyber spying.
When asked which governments or businesses China is targeting with
this move, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei declined to
directly respond, while defending the measures being taken to vet
companies providing IT products and services.
"The introduction of such a system will be the most effective legal
basis for safeguarding China's Internet security and will also have
a significant role in promoting the construction of China as an
Internet powerhouse," he told a news briefing.
"China now accounts for the largest number of Internet users in the
world," he said.
China has also banned new central government computers from using
Windows 8, Microsoft Corp's latest operating system.
This was done because of security concerns around Windows 8, which
exposes computers to monitoring and the risk of being controlled
remotely, the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily newspaper
reported on Thursday, citing a U.S. National Security Agency
programme called Prism.
Windows 8 was also not user-friendly, the People's Daily added.
Xinhua said the investigations would check product security and seek
to prevent suppliers from illegally gathering, storing or processing
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""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 the State Council Information
Office, as saying.
They not only seriously undermine interests of their clients, but
also threaten cyber security 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
Documents leaked by former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden
"rang alarm bells" over cyber security, Jiang added.
Xinhua did not give details of which governments or businesses it
was referring to but U.S. security standards for information
technology were not transparent or clear-cut, Xinhua added.
China has also targeted other foreign tech firms in recent months,
including Qualcomm Inc.. The anti-monopoly regulator accused the
U.S. chip giant of overcharging and abusing its market position.
(Additional reporting by Paul Carsten and Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by
Nick Macfie and Simon Cameron-Moore)
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