China: All Your Security Are Belong to Us

The Chinese guvment has requested that all foreign tech companies with businesses in their nation alter their products to provide less security before releasing them to the Chinese public. And by “requested,” we of course mean “requiring whether the companies in question want to or not.”

Encryptions Now Require Gov’t Approval

Newly implemented, stricter legislation for foreign tech providers “suggest” that IT infrastructure providers allow the Chinese government backdoor access to their products; software companies have been “asked” to do the same. The level of government access is “requested” to go as deep as the source code. Even Juniper software, used by Chinese bank functionaries for remote system access, has been “asked” to hand over their encryptions for government approval.

Additional new legislation “asks” foreign companies to stop using encryption technology. You know, that stuff that protects and secures communications. Instead, China will provide their own encryption algorithms that are totally not compromised at all and will totally not open the door for unauthorized, external surveillance.

Predictably, Microsoft, Apple, and other big tech companies from the good ol’ U.S. of A. have balked at these suggestions. Allowing access of that kind, they rightly argue, is essentially inviting untold levels of cyberattacks, hacks, and cracks, Jack.

The NAMCEA Strikes Back

To that end, a group of large American tech companies—all directly involved in U.S.-China trade—have formed the National Association of Manufacturers, Consumer Electronics Association (or, NAMCEA, which unfortunately doesn’t spell anything particularly catchy). Approved by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NAMCEA has launched an official protest in the name of cybersecurity. In your face, Red China!

And while we're at it: your wall ain't that great.

And while we’re at it: your wall ain’t that great.

NAMCEA’s members see the new legislation as part of a strong—and ever-growing—nationalist trend in China that is intentionally making it far more difficult for foreign businesses to gain a foothold in the communist nation.

The official “request” also not-so-subtly plays into the Chinese government’s history of intellectual property theft. For years, state-sponsored hackers have been stealing technical information (like the source codes companies are expected to voluntarily hand over) to give China’s own national corporations a leg up. Why steal said secrets when you can just “ask” companies to hand them over?

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA

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