According to a new report from The Beijing News, Apple will begin allowing the Chinese government to carry out security inspections on its devices that it sells in the country. The purpose for this agreement would be to address China‘s recent fears about iOS devices allowing access to sensitive information from both customers and the government. The deal was reportedly made between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Lu Wei, director of the director of Chinese State Internet Information Office.
Cook and Lu first met last year, when the Chinese official brought up concerns about backdoors in Apple’s products that would allow data to be collected by foreign governments or third parties. The Apple CEO told him that their devices “never had any backdoors and never will,” but Lu still insisted that they be submitted for network safety inspections, in order for the Chinese government to assure its citizens.
In mid-2014 China Central Television said that iOS features such as Frequent Locations posed a “national security concern,” and could even be capable of revealing “state secrets.” The Chinese government has continued to accuse Apple of assisting the U.S.’s National Security Agency in its global spying efforts.
As China is one of Apple’s most important markets, often seen as the region with the most potential growth for revenue, the company needs to make sure it doesn’t lose favor with the nation’s government. In that sense, this deal was most likely an attempt by Apple to secure its future ability to continue selling to Chinese customers.