The German internal security service advises its fellow countrymen to use a ‘disposable telephone’ and laptop when visiting China, to scan it thoroughly for viruses after the visit or possibly to reset or even throw it away. This for fear of espionage.
The domestic security service, called the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz or BfV in Germany, states that China is “increasingly self-assured and sometimes openly aggressive” when it comes to looking after its interests. The German Handelsblatt writes that on Tuesday. The newspaper has insight into a report on the situation in China. The advice would apply to both business and tourist trips to the country.
Furthermore, it is recommended to limit the number of stored contacts on the devices to what is strictly necessary and data in visa applications must be entered “as abstractly as possible, so with little depth”. Since mid-year, a new visa application form has been in force according to the department. For example, it asks about current and past work, which would make targeted espionage by China easier.
An example of the aggressive attitude that China would take when it comes to data collection is the app that allegedly has it installed on the phones of everyone who enters Xinjiang province. Research from multiple media would have shown that the app forwards messages to authorities, such as text messages and data about contacts, the agenda, location and call history.
In Germany, there is currently a debate about whether the Chinese Huawei can supply equipment for the country’s 5G network. That has its supporters and opponents.