China: iPhone Is Threat to National Security

Beijing worried about state secrets being stolen

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 11, 2014 3:48 PM CDT

(Newser) – China is lashing out at Apple, claiming that the iPhone is a danger to national security because of its ability to track and record user's whereabouts, reports Reuters. A researcher who appeared on today’s CCTV state media broadcast lambasted the tech giant, saying that if China’s “extremely sensitive data” were somehow accessed through the smartphone’s “Frequent Locations” function, it could expose the country’s economic data and (wait for it) “even state secrets.” The iPhone outcry is just the latest development in what have been mostly strained relations of late between the US and China (click here and here for other recent examples).

But Apple may not be able to afford to simply shrug off China’s suspicions: The company holds only a 6% share of the Chinese smartphone market, reports the Wall Street Journal—and Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a public apology last year after CCTV accused the company of discriminating against Chinese customers on warranties. In the past, China has called for "severe punishment" for Apple, says Reuters. Still, the company shouldn’t take it too personally. Other US-based tech companies have also incurred China’s wrath—including Google, Microsoft, and IBM—but the country sends one more dig Cupertino’s way: It also thinks Apple has poor customer service. Apple hasn't commented yet on the accusations.

A man uses his Apple iPhone on a street in Beijing.
A man uses his Apple iPhone on a street in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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