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China blasts the iPhone as a 'national security threat'

Country slams the Apple smartphone's location tracking technology
Fri Jul 11 2014, 13:18

Apple iPhone 5S in space grey gold and silverTHE GLORIOUS People's Republic of China has slammed the Apple iPhone as a "national security threat" because of its ability to track and timestamp its user's location.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, a report by Chinese broadcaster CCTV took aim at the iPhone's "Frequent Locations" function, which tracks and timestamps a user's location if switched on, blasting it as a threat to the country's national security, much like it did with Windows 8.

The state-owned broadcaster quoted researchers who said that those with access to the "extremely sensitive data" could gain knowledge of the broader situation in China or, dramatically, "even state secrets".

The Wall Street Journal reported that the broadcaster cited the Snowden disclosures as its reason for concern, calling US technology firms' databases a "gold mine". It also quoted officials who said that China needed stronger data protection laws, and that Apple would need to "take on any legal responsibilities" if any data leaks caused harm.

China might not have anything to worry about soon, however, as the loss of a lawsuit by Apple could see the iPhone, along with the iPad, removed from shelves in the country.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that a Bejing court ruled in favour of Chinese firm Zhizhen Network Technology in its ongoing court case against Apple, ruling that the firm's Siri digital assistant infringes the company's patents.

This, if Zhizhen gets its way, could see Apple iPhones and iPads slapped with a sales ban across the country. Apple said it will appeal the ruling.

Apple has yet to comment on the report. µ


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