iPhones have been branded as a national security threat in China

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Media officials in China have branded Apple’s iPhone a bonafide threat to national security, with the device’s Location Services at the brunt of the issue. A report by CCTV complained that the data collection by Apple could potentially reveal sensitive “state secrets” if accessed by the wrong people. Apple has previously been accused by Chinese media for providing the U.S. government with data collected through its iPhones. Reporters and security experts have called for “severe punishment,” though no such punishment has been lobbied against the Cupertino-based company just yet. Location services for specific apps can easily be turned off—or you can just turn it off as a whole. Still, for those seemingly unaware that smartphones do track and time-stamp user locations, Chinese media wants to create a hysteria so people are aware. Whether these are unjust accusations is up for debate.

Chinese state media on Friday branded Apple Inc’s iPhone a threat to national security because of the smartphone’s ability to track and time-stamp user locations. A report by broadcaster CCTV criticized the iPhone’s “Frequent Locations” function for allowing users to be tracked and information about them revealed. “This is extremely sensitive data,” said a researcher interviewed by the broadcaster. If the data were accessed, it could reveal an entire country’s economic situation and “even state secrets,” the researcher said. Apple was not available for immediate comment. 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’. It has also been criticized for poor customer service. The California-based company is not the only U.S. firm to suffer from Chinese media ire. Google Inc services have been disrupted in China for over a month, while the central government procurement office has banned new government computers from using Microsoft Corp’s Windows 8 operating system. Other U.S. hardware firms such as Cisco Systems Inc and IBM Corp have experienced a backlash in China from what analysts and companies have termed the ‘Snowden Effect’, after U.S. spying revelations released last year by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

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