China complains after encryption system rejected

Promoters of China’s controversial wireless encryption system on Tuesday accused backers of a rival United States system of ”dirty tricks” after the world industrial standards group rejected the Chinese system for global use.

China will keep promoting its Wireless Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (Wapi) standard and will use it domestically despite the decision by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

China is promoting Wapi in an effort to reduce reliance on foreign technology and give its companies a competitive edge.

ISO members rejected Wapi in favour of the American standard known as 802.11i, the Geneva-based group said on Monday.

A statement issued by ChinaBWIPS — the official China Broadband Wireless IP standard Group — accused backers of the American system of ”a lot of dirty tricks including deception, misinformation, confusion and reckless charging to lobby against Wapi,” according to Xinhua.

It didn’t give details of what supporters of the US system were accused of doing.

ISO groups together the national bodies throughout the world that set standards for telecoms, electronics and other industries.

China dropped an effort last year to make Wapi its mandatory national standard after complaints by Washington that it would hamper access to the Chinese market for foreign companies.

China’s high-tech companies could benefit if its system won acceptance as a world standard, because they would have a head start in using it and could license their technology abroad.

But only eight of 25 ISO members voted in favor of China’s proposal, far short of the 75% approval needed in order for a draft amendment to be carried, the organisation said.

Still, the Chinese government ”insisted that it will firmly support the technology called Wapi and failure in the international standard application will not affect its domestic use,” Xinhua said.

Last week, China announced the creation of a 22-member group of companies to promote Wapi. Members include Lenovo Group, the world’s number three PC maker, and Huawei Technologies, a leading maker of switching equipment used for telecoms and the internet.

The Chinese government has promoted Wapi as being more secure than 802.11i, developed by a group led by US-based Intel, the world’s biggest computer chip maker.

But the US-based electronics industry newspaper EE Times, citing ISO documents, said those who voted against Wapi expressed concern that its development was closed to outsiders and that China has released too little information about it.

China is the world’s biggest cellphone market, with more than 400-million customers, and the second-largest internet market after the United States, with more than 100-million people on line. – Sapa-AP

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