Apple May Allow Product Security Inspections by Chinese Government Officials

Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly consented to security inspections of the company's products by Chinese government officials, reports The Beijing News [Via ITworld]. The inspections will look for backdoors that provide third-party access to sensitive and private data stored on Apple devices.

chinese-flag
These spot inspections were part of an agreement forged between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Lu Wei, director of China's State Internet Information Office. The pair met last year to talk about the security of Apple's products, including the upcoming Apple Watch. Wei expressed concerned that Apple's devices may compromise the security of the Chinese government and the privacy of Apple device owners in China.

During their conversation, Cook reportedly told Lu that Apple's devices do not contain a backdoor to share data with government entities or other third-party services. Despite these assurances, Wu supposedly insisted on these security assessments so the Chinese government can examine Apple's products firsthand.

China increasingly is an important market for Apple with sales in the Asian nation projected to continue to rise in the coming years. Apple recently confirmed plans to open five new retail locations in China over the next five weeks. The company has been heavily promoting these grand openings, making retail head Angela Ahrendts available for interview by Chinese media sources and hiring renowned calligrapher Wang Dongling to design a mural for the upcoming West Lake store in Hangzhou.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: China

Top Rated Comments

Ledgem Avatar
76 months ago

I don't understand what China is getting here. Closer inspection? Why not just pick up a phone at the store and play with it all you want (like they have not already done that...)? Why not just go to the factories and do a "safety" inspection?

They want to make sure that there are no backdoors. That means examining things like hardware design and software code. It's invasive and, given China's lax regard for copyright, risky for Apple.

The saddest thing about this is that, as an American, I'd find it kind of reassuring if China were to conduct its audits and decide that Apple's products were safe to use. I don't have "anything to hide," nor am I worried about the government spying specifically on me, but I think that some massive overreach has occurred and continues to occur.

Who would have thought that I, as a citizen of the self-proclaimed freest country on earth, would want to find verifications of privacy and freedoms on my electronics through the audit by a repressive foreign government? This is a pretty sad state of affairs.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vito Avatar
76 months ago
next we'll hear about China wanting to add a backdoor for "security reasons"
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brendu Avatar
76 months ago
Come on guys. After all the NSA leaks I think it's completely fair for another country to want to ensure that they aren't being spied on this way. Just as we want to be sure Chinese technology isn't being used to spy on us. If I was Chinese I would expect my government to do these kinds of checks. Good on apple for allowing it to backup their stance that they don't allow their products to be used for spying.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JHankwitz Avatar
76 months ago
Ha! No doubt China wants a close look and details so they can figure out how they can break into our devices.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
marioguarneros Avatar
76 months ago



China increasingly is an important market for Apple with sales in the Asian nation projected to continue to rise in the coming years. Apple recently confirmed plans to open five new retail locations in China over the next five weeks.


English is not my first language so please ignore me if I am mistaken but wouldn't it be better to write it as follows?:

"China is an increasingly important market…"
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
2457282 Avatar
76 months ago
I don't understand what China is getting here. Closer inspection? Why not just pick up a phone at the store and play with it all you want (like they have not already done that...)? Why not just go to the factories and do a "safety" inspection?

Unless I am missing something, this seems to be nothing more than a political move to show that China is in charge and that Apple cannot just do whatever they want. Otherwise, I am not seeing anything that China actually gets by this demand.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
windows 10

Developer Successfully Virtualizes Windows for Arm on M1 Mac

Friday November 27, 2020 7:16 am PST by
Developer Alexander Graf has successfully virtualized the Arm version of Windows on an M1 Mac, proving that the M1 chip is capable of running Microsoft's operating system (via The 8-Bit). Currently, Macs with the M1 chip do not support Windows and there is no Boot Camp feature as there is on Intel Macs, but support for Windows is a feature that many users would like to see. Using the...
General black friday 20 sale feature

Thanksgiving Day Deals Still Available on AirPods, M1 Macs, Apple Watch Series 6, iPads

Thursday November 26, 2020 10:21 am PST by
Black Friday deals seem to start earlier and earlier every year, so there were already a wide variety of discounts available for Apple products on Thanksgiving Day. Many of the deals remain available even after Thanksgiving, but act fast, as inventory quickly fluctuates. Thanksgiving Day Deals on Apple Products — Still Available:AirPods with a wireless charging case remain available for...
iPhone black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPhone Deals

Friday November 27, 2020 12:56 pm PST by
Black Friday is halfway done, but there are still a few deals to shop for on iPhones at carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile/Sprint. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. AT&T Starting with AT&T, you'll find up to $700 off any iPhone 12 when...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
iphone trade in store

UK Environmental Committee Says Apple Contributing to 'Throwaway Culture' of 'Short-Lived Products'

Thursday November 26, 2020 7:07 am PST by
Technology companies like Apple are contributing to e-waste by making their products difficult to repair, and charging expensive repair fees, according to a lengthy report published today by the UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee. "We were told that Apple glues and solders parts together on their laptops, which makes repairing them very difficult," the Committee wrote in a summary ...
m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
iPad Pro 5G and Mini LED feature

Rumored 2021 High-End iPad Pro May Feature 5G With mmWave Support

Thursday November 26, 2020 2:14 am PST by
Apple's rumored high-end iPad Pro models to be released next year will be 5G-enabled with mmWave support, according to sources cited by industry publication DigiTimes. Multiple rumors have suggested Apple is planning to release a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display next year, with the possibility that there will be an 11-inch mini-LED model too, but details beyond that have...