Apple Confirmed That It Had Not Handed Over Source Code to China
Apr 20, 2016 04:56 AM EDT
American tech giant Apple has stated that it refused the Chinese government's request to share its proprietary source code. The company said that they received a request but had not complied with the requirements.
The statement was made as a response to law enforcement officials' claims that the company was sharing information with the Chinese government for business reasons, as reported by Reuters. Apple's general counsel and Senior Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs Bruce Sewell said in a hearing that the company has refused the request.
The hearing was called by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee to examine potential common ground in the encryption debate between law enforcements and tech companies. Previously, Apple claimed that the accusation was a "smear" from the U.S. Department of Justice in its efforts to demand Apple help unlock an iPhone belonged to a terror attacker as requested by a U.S. court.
Furthermore, Sewell elaborated that the company has received the request from Chinese government within the past two years. However, the company never handed over the information as requested. Under oath, he emphasized, as quoted by The Hill, "I want to be very clear on this. We have not provided source code to the Chinese government."
The case added to the ongoing complexity of encryption debate in the U.S., European countries, China, among other countries. In the U.S., Apple had been in legal dispute with the law enforcements after refusing to provide assistance to unlock an iPhone owned by the San Bernardino attacker.
The U.S. government had recently abandoned its legal effort demanding Apple to provide the FBI with a 'backdoor' to access the iPhone, as reported by The Financial Times. However, the similar debate is still ongoing worldwide, including in China.
Previously, Apple said that it had received 1,005 requests from Chinese authorities in relation to 2,413 devices for customer information. The company said that it provided data in two-thirds of those requests.
The Chinese government has recently issued a new anti-terror law, requiring tech companies to provide the authorities with decrypted information. So far, as many as 25 major Chinese companies, including Baidu and Alibaba, have complied with the law, as they signed a pledge to help combat terrorism activities online.
Apple has denied the accusation that the company had been sharing its source code to the Chinese government. The tech giant did acknowledge that it has been receiving requests from the Chinese government to do so but had been refusing to comply.