Symantec under scrutiny by Chinese government over backdoor claims

Summary:U.S. internet safety giant is suspected of leaving backdoors in data loss prevention software. It denies the allegation.

Symantec has allegedly included "backdoors" to collect data, and including loopholes in its Data Loss Prevention product.

Chinese newspaper Sina first published the story on Thursday.

The California-based technology giant is reportedly cooperating with the Chinese government.

A notice, dated June 26, said that the Chinese government's information department, as well as the police and public safety authorities, must stop using Symantec Data Loss Prevention and other anti-virus software, which are developed by the company. The notice also said the government should turn to self-developed ones as soon as possible.

Several industry sources speaking anonymously to Sina that the notice is of high credibility, and Symantec, when contacted by the Chinese daily, said that it is aware of the notice and putting the issue at its highest priority. 

Symantec told ZDNet in a statement that there are "no data theft backdoors" in their software, and rebuffed claims that its products have been banned from the country. The company's software had previously pass the Chinese government’s safety test and was granted a sales license in November 2011.

The Chinese government has been beefing up its efforts on monitoring the safety of information products in recent months. Another recently announced government notice reaffirm the regime's resolution, that all important technological products and services that concern national security and public interest must pass "internet safety checks."

Topics: China, Security


Liu Jiayi is a Hong Kong-based writer and editor. He produces video stories for Al Jazeera English and Seven News Australia, and also worked as the video editor for the Hong Kong-San Francisco Ocean Film Festival 2012. He is studying under a Master of Journalism Programme at the University of Hong Kong.

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