Date
19 August 2017
The new Chinese policy follows revelations last year by US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden (above) about massive US hacking of  Chinese phone messages. Photo: Reuters
The new Chinese policy follows revelations last year by US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden (above) about massive US hacking of Chinese phone messages. Photo: Reuters

US tech group presses Washington on China restrictions

United States technology companies are pressing Washington for help in getting China to reverse looming restrictions that could require them to disclose sensitive information aimed at blocking foreign spying in the country.

Seventeen trade associations, representing most segments of the technology sector, wrote to US officials on Wednesday, asking them to press their Chinese counterparts to rescind the new policy, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The restrictions could force companies to reveal proprietary software source code to Chinese authorities.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry , Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the group said the new policy would cause long-term damage to US businesses trying to sell technology to China, a market estimated to be worth about US$465 billion.

Last week, the group wrote to officials in China to express their opposition to the restrictions.

Chinese officials could not be reached for comment Thursday and rrepresentatives of the US agencies did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The proposed restrictions are the latest sign of the continuing repercussions from information about US government intelligence-gathering tactics leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency.

Among other things, Snowden said US authorities hacked millions of Chinese phone messages.

China has issued restrictions that affect the country’s banking sector but officials there have said they are under review and may be extended to the telecommunications sector and other areas sectors, according to the letter.

Foreign products and services must undergo “intrusive” security testing to qualify be certified as “secure and controllable”, the report said.

They must use technology and software that contain indigenous Chinese intellectual property, implement local encryption technology and comply with China-specific security standards.

The restrictions also require that vendors disclose software source code and other sensitive and proprietary information to the Chinese government and engineer their products to restrict the flow of data outside the country, according to the letter.

The signatories include the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Semiconductor Industry Association, the Software and Information Industry Association and the Telecommunications Industry Association.

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