China backs off legal push that would force foreign tech companies to hand over encryption keys

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  • Reply 21 of 37
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    China's central government has reportedly halted the advance of proposed antiterror legislation that would have forced technology companies doing business in the country to install government-accessible backdoors in their products, provide keys for any encrypted communications services, and require data for Chinese users to remain in China.

     
    The formal entrance to Zhongnanhai, the seat of China's central government.

    The formal entrance to Zhongnanhai, the seat of China's central government.





    "They have decided to suspend the third reading of that particular law, which has sort of put that on hiatus for the moment," White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel said earlier this week, as noted by Reuters. "We did see that as something that was bad not just for U.S. business but for the global economy as a whole, and it was something we felt was very important to communicate very clearly to them."



    If China has pressed forward, it could have put Apple in an impossible position. China is one of the company's most important markets, but chief executive Tim Cook has staunchly opposed any attempts to violate the privacy of Apple's customers.



    While there are "rumors of us keeping backdoors and providing data to third parties," Cook is said to have told top Chinese internet regulator Lu Wei during a meeting last year, the company has "never had any backdoors and never will."



    Cook was even more emphatic during an appearance at the White House's Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, held last month at Stanford University.



    "If those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to protect the right of privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money," Cook said. "We risk our way of life."



    Personal privacy is especially important "in a world in which that information can make the difference between life and death," he added.



    A similar set of Chinese government regulations aimed at companies competing for large-scale infrastructure projects has not been affected. Those guidelines call not only for backdoors, but also for companies interested in selling software or hardware to turn over their source code to the government.

     

    I'm guessing they don't want European firms asking the same thing of the Chinese firms selling outside China... Quid Pro quo.

  • Reply 22 of 37
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by justbobf View Post



    Encryption of The phone probably doesn't matter. The government can probably get all the information they need from the cloud services.

     

    If the com is encrypted and the content on the cloud service is encrypted and you own the key, not sure what they'd get.

    They'd have to intercept a login (man in the middle) to do that and something like that on a grand scale would be impossible to hide. Not even sure that's possible even, depends on how logins from phones to Apple services are handled.

  • Reply 23 of 37
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,418member

    "...reportedly halted the advance of proposed antiterror legislation..."

    Hilarious!

    Requiring these back doors and the forfeiture of encryption keys IS the terrorism!

  • Reply 24 of 37
    carthusiacarthusia Posts: 583member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     



    That's 500,000 higher-paying technology jobs.  It's different than $1/day Chinese farmers.  So yeah, it is a big deal.

    I would think that if China really wanted to play hardball like that, I would think it has been brought front-and-center to the point where Tim Cook may perhaps want to keep a keen eye on plan B locations outside of China.



    In the end, I think China should get booted out of the WTO.  It's obvious they believe they are beyond approach from the rules that members must adhere to.




    Huh...more than the U.S.? Russia? We're all bad actors.

  • Reply 25 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    Wonder what Apple said to get them to back down. It’d be useful to know in the prevention of tyranny elsewhere.


     

    US Gov't stepped in. China stole enough IP, dont need to give them all of our encryption tech too!

  • Reply 26 of 37
    carthusiacarthusia Posts: 583member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    I doubt Apple said anything to them. They just figured it out on their own that it would cause huge problems for them. It was probably one of those decrees made by some security manager but once the senior members of the government were advised of the impending economic catastrophe, it was quickly rescinded.




    Their statements tend to be tightly controlled by the central government. Could an individual bureaucrat put this out without express direction from their superiors? Perhaps it was simply a trial balloon that was floated?

  • Reply 27 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,423member
    foggyhill wrote: »
    If the com is encrypted and the content on the cloud service is encrypted and you own the key, not sure what they'd get.
    They'd have to intercept a login (man in the middle) to do that and something like that on a grand scale would be impossible to hide. Not even sure that's possible even, depends on how logins from phones to Apple services are handled.
    Oh, it's certainly possible, tho it's not likely to go unnoticed for very long.
    http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/10/chinese-government-launches-man-in-middle-attack-against-icloud/
  • Reply 28 of 37

    I remember when Deng came to the US in 1979 and played up the "Soviet hegemony" card.  He seemed friendly to the West as he portrayed Moscow as the common enemy of both the West & China and essentially opened the door to the West.  Knowing that Deng fell from grace and then was rehabilitated post-Mao contributed to his pitch.  The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan certainly lended credence and many in the West were encouraged to think Mainland China was lowering the Bamboo Curtain.  It was fairly clear the Cultural Revolution had failed so it looked to the West like authoritarian control and the centrally planned economy would likely go away.  Western investment was off to the races, albeit via official partnerships at first.  All that said, what if Deng's pitch was possibly like the character from Babylon 5 Mr. Morden asking Ambassador Londo, "What do you want?"  Seemingly innocuous but such a cost years later to allow the Shadows a foothold.  

     

    ?Almost anything the Chinese asked for in terms of trade the West agreed to.  Wall Street and the investor class were all pushing for almost any company w/ international aspirations to expand, expand, expand in this new market. To hesitate could be a recipe for a beating in stock price and/or board revolts and a likely pink slip.  Most Favored Nation trade status was heavily argued w/ Republicans strongly for and Democrats (at least the old guard private industry union coalition) strongly against.  The West became like kids in a candy store in the Chinese market.  It was never enough.  All this investment was sold under the premise that once "the people" got hold of the trinkets that Westerners were now in love with--cars, watches, fast food, designer garments, etc--turning China into a consumer culture would then create sufficient pressure to abandon one party rule.  Turning the Middle Kingdom into Rodeo Drive West was good for business and world peace. Or so we thought.

     

    Meanwhile, all that investment meant money flowed equally freely into the Chinese government coffers still controlled, btw, by the same Chinese Communist Party that was in power since Mao.  Nothing has changed.  The Party is the government and the government is the Party.  Except flooded w/ Western currency.  With which they have purchased very significant positions in Western sovereign debt.  The West encouraged Chinese students to come to the West and receive advanced degrees in pure and applied sciences and that intellectual capital has flourished and now reproducing in their own universities.  While true consumerism is now a hallmark of Chinese society, "the people" generally do not appear restive towards their overseers, in fact, seemingly support the Politburo.   And, not in the least, a military increasing in its capacity to project power.

     

    So, what if we simply abandoned China now and treated it as a real adversary?  Let's say Apple decided to relocate all manufacturing and assembly of iDevices & Macs back into the West into possibly a more interesting investment zone like, say, Africa.  Reducing dependence on China seems in the best interest because Communist China ultimately is not our friend and while the lesson learned is too late, maybe it's best to cut the losses and stop feeding the awakened beast before it really breaks the chains.

  • Reply 29 of 37
    splifsplif Posts: 603member
     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Pastor_Mac View Post

    So, what if we simply abandoned China now and treated it as a real adversary?  Let's say Apple decided to relocate all manufacturing and assembly of iDevices & Macs back into the West into possibly a more interesting investment zone like, say, Africa.  Reducing dependence on China seems in the best interest because Communist China ultimately is not our friend and while the lesson learned is too late, maybe it's best to cut the losses and stop feeding the awakened beast before it really breaks the chains.


    Cheap labor comes at a high price. Like you stated, the price is too high.

  • Reply 30 of 37
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Pastor_Mac View Post

    The West encouraged Chinese students to come to the West and receive advanced degrees in pure and applied sciences…


     

    Lying about credentials to do so… :grumble:

     
    maybe its best to cut the losses and stop feeding the awakened beast before it really breaks the chains.

     

    While their power will still grow a bit before the big collapse coming due, it won’t ever become anything other than regional. Particularly not in the face of a united West.

  • Reply 31 of 37
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Oh, it's certainly possible, tho it's not likely to go unnoticed for very long.

    http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/10/chinese-government-launches-man-in-middle-attack-against-icloud/

     

    I remembered that. But, as I said, it would be possible to make it so its impossible to bypass Apple really even if someone controlled the intervening network.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Splif View Post

     

    Cheap labor comes at a high price. Like you stated, the price is too high.


     

    Chinese labor is longer the cheapest though; maybe their worried about that. When cheap is your trademark, you're always replaceable. Just ask any PC and Android OEM....

  • Reply 32 of 37
    adamcadamc Posts: 582member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

     

    This is a good reminder of the risks involved with operating in China. On the one hand it's a huge market which offers the potential for substantial profit growth. On the other hand, it's run by an authoritarian government lacking checks and balances, capable of quickly making capricious decisions that will pull the rug out from under any given company. 

     

    My guess is that Apple will capitulate if China ultimately moves forward with this kind of law. It's too hard to walk away from a market that big. 




    I doubt Apple will capitulate after the way Tim Cook talked about privacy, others yes but not Apple.

     

    Why? consumers will never trust Apple again.

  • Reply 33 of 37
    splifsplif Posts: 603member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by foggyhill View Post

     

     

    I remembered that. But, as I said, it would be possible to make it so its impossible to bypass Apple really even if someone controlled the intervening network.

     

    Chinese labor is longer the cheapest though; maybe their worried about that. When cheap is your trademark, you're always replaceable. Just ask any PC and Android OEM....




    Cheap is a relative term. There are also other costs to consider in that equation other than labor. That was the point of the original post made by Pastor_Mac.

  • Reply 34 of 37
    I think you are looking at the Chinese long game in negotiations. The strength of their system is the very long view of politics. China needed the west to avoid a soviet style collapse. Such a collapse would have been an apocalypse of the first order. 100's of millions of people would die and the long term consequence would all be bad.

    The idea that the tail in Hong Kong could wag the tiger is silly on the face of it. What we are betting on is a slow cultural revolution that will change China from within. The real question is will we rot before they change or vice versa. The world is certainly an interesting place. I am impressed with their current leader. He seems to understand that China currently has more rot then America. Which is saying something.

    The worst interpretation of this announcement is China recognized they could not publicly shame Apple. Any agreement on back doors has to be secret.:\:\
  • Reply 35 of 37
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    Wonder what Apple said to get them to back down. It’d be useful to know in the prevention of tyranny elsewhere.

    "Back down, or we move all production of Apple Products to Taiwan/South Korea overnight"

    And every US company doing business in the country would do the same. You would never be able to sell an electronic product in the US again if the Chinese laws went through.
  • Reply 36 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    Wonder what Apple said to get them to back down. It’d be useful to know in the prevention of tyranny elsewhere.


     

     

    They threatened China with installing Songs of Innocence by default on their iDevices.

  • Reply 37 of 37
    bocboc Posts: 72member
    If you give up your source code to your Internet infrastructure hardware, what else do you have left that is proprietary? Seems like that is the end of Cisco hardware in China.
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