Believe it or not, China's influential state broadcaster on Friday called a location-tracking function offered by Apple's iPhone a "national security concern," in the latest sign of a backlash in the country against U.S. technology firms. Apparently turning off the iPhone's location services is just too difficult for those that want to use propaganda against Apple. You have to wonder if the government didn't give CCTV a little nudge to air such nonsense.
The Wall Street Journal reports that "In its national noon broadcast, state-run China Central Television criticized the "frequent locations" function in Apple's iOS 7 which tracks and records the time and location of the owner's movements. The report quoted researchers who said that those with access to that data could gain knowledge of the broader situation in China or 'even state secrets.'" And pray tell, how could that occur by location alone?
While CCTV's broadcasts don't necessarily reflect the views of China's top leaders, they are influential in China. Some companies have shifted policies or recalled products after critical CCTV reports.
Apple has frequently come under fire from Chinese state media, which accused the company of providing user data to U.S. intelligence agencies and have called for 'severe punishment'.
The WSJ lastly notes that "U.S. technology companies have felt a chill in China since last year, when former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden alleged the National Security Agency was spying on Chinese leaders and that U.S. tech firms were providing data to the government. Apple has said it doesn't provide government agencies with direct access to its servers."
What is this latest outburst by China's CCTV really about? Back in May NPR reported that China had said that U.S. charges against five Chinese military officials for allegedly hacking into American computers amounted to hypocrisy, citing U.S. surveillance and wiretapping. The country's foreign ministry later summoned the American ambassador to complain about the charges.
That's interesting because it was just yesterday that it was reported in The Guardian that "Chinese hackers broke into the computer networks of the United States government agency that keeps the personal information of all federal employees in March, the New York Times reported, citing senior US officials.
The hackers appeared to be targeting files on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances, the newspaper said."
In the end, it would appear that in this recent case with CCTV, it's just more propaganda from China in their battle to fend off real charges of spying on the US and unfortunately Apple's iPhone is caught in the middle. The good news is that Apple's iPhone is usually sold to those that are educated and fully understand government propaganda when they hear it.