Report: Apple agrees to Chinese security audits of its products

The purpose is to counter Chinese concerns about outside government surveillance

Apple will allow China's State Internet Information Office to run security audits on products the company sells in China in an effort to counter concerns that other governments are using its devices for surveillance, according to news reports.

Apple CEO Tim Cook agreed to the security inspections during a December meeting in the U.S. with information office director Lu Wei, according to a story in the Beijing News.

China has become one of Apple's biggest markets, but the country needs assurances that Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad protect the security and privacy of their users as well as maintain Chinese national security, Lu told Cook, according to an anonymous source cited by the Beijing News.

Cook reportedly told Lu that Apple products do not give data to third parties. "We did not, and will not provide a back door," the news story quoted him as saying.

The Chinese government needs to draw its own conclusions, "so that consumers must be assured," Lu reportedly told Cook.

Apple will cooperate with spot network security audits of its products by Chinese officials, according to the story.

In July, China Central Television raised concerns about location tracking in Apple's iOS, calling it a "national security concern."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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