China's Just Been Caught Spying. Or Has It?

Oct 5, 2018 | 19:25 GMT

A worker inspects motherboards on a factory line at the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China, in 2010.

A worker inspects motherboards on a factory line at the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen on May 26, 2010. China is alleged to have inserted monitoring chips into hardware that was sent to U.S. defense industries.

(VOISHMEL/AFP/Getty Images)


  • The accuracy of a report that China inserted specialized chips in electronic hardware used by the U.S. government and major companies still needs to be verified.
  • Nevertheless, the United States will use the claim as evidence in its wider campaign against China, both domestically and abroad, while working to secure critical aspects of its supply chain.
  • Though Washington may wish to untangle the interwoven supply chains between the United States and China, companies will not do so by themselves, meaning the government will have to enact new regulations if it wishes to enforce change.

The news was a bombshell: China had infiltrated tech supply chains and installed a malicious chip in equipment that was eventually used by nearly 30 U.S. companies -- including defense contractors and even the CIA, Bloomberg reported Oct. 4. If true, the story would confirm the United States' worst fears about China infiltrating U.S. security networks at will, but that possibility might be beside the point. Even if the story is not true -- and two of the companies in question, Amazon and Apple, rapidly denied that any such infiltration occurred -- the report will still add more grist for the mill as Washington seeks to beat back Beijing's rise in technology....

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