Technology

Windows 8 a 'threat' to China's security

Windows 8.1 screen
Image caption China has worries about what happens to data stored on Windows 8 machines

Microsoft's Windows 8 has been branded a threat to China's cybersecurity in a state-backed news report.

China's CCTV broadcast a strongly critical story in which experts suggested it was being used to grab data about Chinese citizens.

The report comes only days after China banned the use of Windows 8 on many government computers.

Separately, other Chinese media firms called for tech firms that aided US spying to face "severe punishment".

US monitoring

In the story Prof Yang Min of Fudan University was quoted as saying that Windows 8 posed a "big challenge" to the nation's cybersecurity efforts,

"Microsoft would no longer open its Windows 8 source code to the Chinese government," he said. "However the security scheme of the Windows 8 operating system is designed to provide better access for Microsoft to users' database."

The report also suggested that Windows 8 was one of the methods the NSA was using to spirit data out of the country. China has been a consistent critic of the wide-ranging surveillance programme carried out by the NSA.

"Your identity, account, contact book, phone numbers, all this data can be put together for big data analysis," said Ni Guangnan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

"The data might be a good way for the US to monitor other countries," he added.

In late May, China issued a notice which stopped Windows 8 machines being procured for government departments. The ban was apparently imposed because of a decree about energy-saving devices. However, many media reports said it was brought in because of fears over the security of the operating system.

Microsoft told CCTV that it was "actively co-operating" with the Chinese government on a review of its products to allay fears about what was being done with user data.

Many US tech companies were also criticised in the Chinese media for the help they have given to the NSA surveillance programme.

Yahoo, Cisco, Facebook, Apple, Google and others were described as "pawns" of the US government that had aided attempts to spy on Chinese citizens and steal secrets. All should be punished for their co-operation, said editorials in state-backed media.

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