Leading smartphone brands have been cleared of breaching Taiwan’s data protection laws after national security concerns triggered a government investigation in September.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) said all the 12 brands it had tested, which include handsets sold by China’s Xiaomi Inc., Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co Ltd., LG Electronics Inc. and Sony Corp., did not violate the laws.
However, the NCC will require mobile phone makers to make data transmission more secure, according to James Lou, an official who was involved in the testing.
The probe, which also involved Chinese handset makers Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp., was a reminder of the scrutiny Chinese technology firms are subject to abroad as governments become increasingly wary of potential cyber security threats from the world’s second-biggest economy.
It also highlights Taiwan’s sensitivity to security issues involving China, its largest trading partner but one which has never renounced the use of force to take back what it deems a renegade province.
Privately owned Xiaomi, whose budget smartphones are popular throughout Asia, was previously accused of breaching data privacy.
In August, the company apologized and said it would change a default feature after a Finnish security company said Xiaomi collected address book data without users’ permission.
In September, Taiwan’s government began performing independent tests on Xiaomi phones after media reports said that some models automatically send user data back to the firm’s servers in mainland China.
The probe was widened to domestic and foreign handsets.
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