China: The Better to Spy on You…The Better to Compete with You

By Stormy

China wants foreign companies to disclose computer technology that keep e-mail and data secure. The Chinese term for “disclose” is “certify.” Beginning May 1, 2009, foreign companies will be required to certify their security technology. Hardware, firewalls, encryption schemes…all are up certification or disclosure.

The computer security rules cover 13 types of hardware and software, including database and network security systems, secure routers, data backup and recovery systems and anti-spam and anti-hacking software. Such technology is enmeshed in products sold by Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and other industry giants.

A number of ducks are being shot with this latest China salvo:

  1. Better Big Brother control over the Internet
  2. Better positioning of their own standards and IT security companies.

    Giving regulators the power to reject foreign technologies could help to promote sales of Chinese alternatives.

  3. Better spying on your corporate competitors. Always nice to know what techniques they are using. “The better to eat you with, my dear.”
  4. Better way of officially stealing IT technology.

China says it is really a matter of national security.

The agency that will enforce the rules, the China Certification and Accreditation Administration, said in a written statement they are meant to protect national security and “advance industry development.” But it did not respond to questions about what information companies must disclose and how foreign technology will be judged.