[ISN] Spy fears spook IBM-Lenovo deal

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Feb 25 04:47:57 EST 2005

Forwarded from: William Knowles <wk at c4i.org>


By Andrew Orlowski
24th February 2005

For years the Chinese government fretted that the US was using its 
technology lead to spy on the country - but now the tables are turned. 
The US government has much deeper concerns about what China can glean 
from the historic Lenovo-IBM PC deal than recent reports have 

Concessions offered by IBM to the US Treasury's Committee on Foreign 
Investment in the United States were rejected yesterday, Bloomberg 
reports. The Committee is worried that IBM's North Carolina facility 
presents opportunities for industrial espionage. Even the IBM customer 
list - and the US government is a very big customer indeed - could 
divulge information the US doesn't want China to see.

And keeping this list private is one of the concessions apparently 
made by IBM. (Although it isn't clear how Lenovo can support IBM 
government staff if it doesn't know who or where they are.) Another 
concession includes prohibiting Lenovo employees from certain 
buildings. IBM had been asked not to transfer R&D staff to the 
facility, but rejected the suggestion. The Committee has until March 
14 to file its report to the President.

In the late 1990s the PRC was worried that domestic CDMA networks were 
vulnerable to US political interference, as they use the DoD's GPS 
satellites to synchronize their base stations. However, a source told 
your reporter that Chinese government officials didn't object to 
monitoring of traffic on the ill-fated Iridium network.

"Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org

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