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Symantec and Kaspersky Labs Banned from China as Government Obliged to Choose Domestic Security Software

Symantec and Kaspersky Labs Banned from China as Government Obliged to Choose Domestic Security Software

Government procurement agency excludes two firms from security software supplier list.


This article originally appeared at The WHIR

China is continuing to block foreign technology services from being accessible in the country, as US-based antivirus firm Symantec and Russian firm Kaspersky Labs have been added to a list of tech firms banned from China.

According to a report by Business Insider on Monday, China’s government procurement agency has excluded Symantec and Kaspersky from its security software supplier list. There are no foreign security firms on the approved list of five security providers.

The ban comes shortly after Chinese government officials raided four Microsoft offices. While the details around the raids remain scarce, Microsoft has had a strained relationship with the Chinese government since Edward Snowden’s disclosures revealed that Microsoft technology had been used to aid the NSA in cyberespionage.

In June, censorship watchdog GreatFire reported that US-based cloud storage service Dropbox was blocked again, after being available for the first time since 2010 in February.

Some of the concern from the Chinese government seems to be that the software from security firms like Symantec could include backdoors or other hidden functionalities in order to enable the US to spy on China. Symantec told Bloomberg that it doesn’t do that.

Kaspersky is currently investigating the government’s decision to keep it off the approved list.

While security companies are the focus in the latest offensive by the Chinese government, US cloud companies as a whole stand to lose significant profits from foreign governments concerned about US spying programs. A study by the New America Foundation estimates the impact to be in the range of billions of dollars.

As China is a market poised for significant cloud growth, being left out could have lasting effects on the success of US-based service providers, and go much deeper than lost profits.

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