Date
22 January 2017
Alibaba's Jack Ma is working closely with Chinese authorities to provide secure technology to the country's most sensitive agencies. Photo: Bloomberg
Alibaba's Jack Ma is working closely with Chinese authorities to provide secure technology to the country's most sensitive agencies. Photo: Bloomberg

Alibaba software helping China in foreign tech purge

More than 4,000 Chinese law-enforcement officers are using secure smartphone software developed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as part of a government push to purge foreign technology from the most sensitive agencies, Bloomberg News reported.

The Alibaba software provides users an encrypted parallel operating system that includes a secure “police chat” messaging platform, said Lu Yu, assistant to the director of the Ministry of Public Security’s First Research Institute.

Alibaba’s Professional Mobile Operating System has been loaded into handsets made by China’s ZTE Corp. and employed in police work at home and abroad ahead of a wider rollout.

The project shows a willingness by Alibaba founder Jack Ma to work closely with security authorities to support a key piece of President Xi Jinping’s agenda, the news agency said.

The government wants to make foreign technology used in critical sectors “safe and controllable” by the end of the decade or replace it with homegrown alternatives, people familiar with the plan said in December.

“We have to make sure that mobile phones can be totally safe and controllable, and we have to make sure nothing secretly happens to our phones,” Lu was quoted as saying.

“Our mobile-phone product is not for commercial purposes, but to meet the needs of people who have security concerns.”

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