Group 4 @ IMBD Lille : China approves the iPhone 6, after a stern look at security

 

Iphone 6

The Chinese government on Tuesday granted Apple the final license required to release the new iPhone 6 in mainland China, but the announcement came with a twist.

The approval was good news for China’s legions of Apple fans, who will be able to begin making preorders for the phone on Oct. 10, Apple said Tuesday. The phone first went on sale on Sept. 19 in the United States and a few other major markets, including Hong Kong, which operates under laws separate from those of mainland China.

Less encouraging for Apple, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced the approval on its website and, unusually, added a detailed description of security concerns that it had with Apple’s iOS operating system.

The ministry said it was worried about diagnostic tools that run on the iPhone that could compromise users’ private data when the users connect their phones to computers or when they take the phones to repair shops to be fixed. The statement did not mention new encryption functions on the iPhone 6 that are intended to make gaining access to data time-consuming and difficult without the consent of the user.

“What the ministry tests to give this license has nothing to do with the warnings they included about these holes in security,” said Wang Yanhui, secretary of the China Mobile Alliance, a semiofficial organization that facilitates communication between the Chinese government and mobile phone companies in China.

The ministry said on its website that after it presented the concerns to Apple, the company provided it with “official materials” to address them. The ministry said that Apple had shown that the company cannot gain access to customer data without approval from the customer, that the new iOS 8 operating system is more resistant to attempts to steal customer data using diagnostic tools and that Apple had never provided a backdoor to give data to any government agency.

“If companies are found to violate personal information protection policies, the ministry will investigate and take care of the problem according to relevant laws and regulations,” the ministry said.

In a statement issued this month, Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, said the company had never cooperated with the government of any country to provide access to customer data.

All smartphones have certain functions that can make them vulnerable when on the Internet, Mr. Wang said. He added, without elaborating, that he believed there was a level of “intentionality” in the inclusion of the remarks about safety.

The Chinese government has hinted strongly over the past year that it will take steps to decrease its reliance on foreign technology after disclosures by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden about surveillance by the United States government.

At a conference in September, Wei Jianguo, the director general of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said that the Shanghai municipal government had told its employees to use phones made by the Chinese company Huawei instead of ones from Apple or Samsung, according to a transcript posted on the online news portal Sohu, one of the sponsors of the event.

Three city and central government officials, who requested anonymity because they feared reprisals, said they had not heard of such a policy, but analysts have said the central government could eventually take steps to ensure that officials use phones made by domestic companies.

Link : http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/30/china-approves-the-iphone-6-after-a-stern-look-at-security/?ref=international

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