American Humor! China Takes Dig at US After WhatsApp Ordered to Hand Over Data on Foreigners
The US has accused Chinese telecoms of sharing data with the ruling People's Liberation Army, although Beijing continues to deny the allegations. Washington has lobbied close allies to avoid using Chinese-sourced telecomm software and hardware in key networks that secure global finance and national security.
Beijing on Friday accused Washington of hypocrisy after the latter ordered a tech firm to share user conversations for snooping purposes.
The statement has come after a Forbes report claimed that the US Drug Enforcement Administration agents sought WhatsApp data connected with a group of users in China and Macau.
"Nearly everything the US accuses China of turns out to be their own evil. Well, perhaps it's American humor," Lijian Zhao, a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, said on Friday.
Lijian also observed that the US recently sanctioned three Chinese companies it said were engaged in unspecified "missile technology proliferation activities."
"This is a typical hegemonic action," Lijian said, while pointing to what China characterized as Washington's "double standards" on selling to Australia Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Citing an official document, Forbes reported on 17 January that US federal agencies issued an order to WhatsApp for "monitoring IP addresses and numbers with which the targeted users were communicating, as well as when and how they were using the app."
The report underlined that "America's unexplained snooping has a global reach, far beyond domestic WhatsApp users and those in neighboring countries."
8 December 2021, 12:49 GMT
The Indian government has ordered its officials to refrain from using WhatsApp for communication, as local intelligence suggest that classified information is being leaked to foreign countries.
Intelligence agencies in India have also advised New Delhi to switch off digital assistants including Siri and Alexa in smartphones during meetings.
Office assistant devices such as Google Home, Apple HomePod, or Amazon Echo have been barred from some offices.
The US government accuses Chinese hardware manufacturers of snooping on foreign governments. Washington has also conveyed concerns to allies regarding what the US states is the People's Republic of China's (PRC) "irresponsible and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace."