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Spy fears spook IBM-Lenovo deal

The PRC in your PC?

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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 indicated.

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.®

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