China claims iPhone is a ‘threat’

China's government has hit out at US tech and telecoms firms. Picture: Contributed
China's government has hit out at US tech and telecoms firms. Picture: Contributed
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CHINESE state media branded Apple’s iPhone a threat to national security because of the smartphone’s ability to track and time-stamp a user’s locations.

A report by influential broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) criticised the iPhone’s “Frequent Locations” function for allowing users to be tracked and information about them revealed.

“This is extremely sensitive data,” said a researcher interviewed by the broadcaster. “If the data were accessed, it could reveal an entire country’s economic situation and even state secrets,” the researcher said.

The US firm – which was not available for comment – has frequently come under fire from Chinese state media, as it accused the company of providing user-data to US intelligence agencies and called for “severe punishment”.

The company, which holds a 6 per cent share of China’s smartphone market, has also been criticised for poor customer service, according to research firm Analysys.

The California-based giant is not the only US firm to suffer the ire of the Chinese media.

Google services have been disrupted in China for more than a month, while the central government procurement office has banned new government computers from using Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

Other US hardware firms, such as Cisco Systems and IBM, have experienced a backlash in China from what analysts and companies call the “Snowden Effect”, following American spying revelations last year by former US National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.