Chinese geo-tracking device found in UK government car: report

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A Chinese geo-tracking device has reportedly been discovered in a British government car believed to be used by senior officials, including ministers, raising new concerns about Chinese espionage in the UK.

According to a report by l newspaper, government cars were “surgically stripped down to the last nut and bolt” by intelligence officials after at least one Chinese SIM card capable of transmitting location data was found hidden in a car used by many senior politicians and diplomats.

An active member of the British intelligence community told the newspaper: “There [the tracking SIMs] gives the ability to examine government over a period of months and years, continuously classify movements and continuously build a rich picture of activity.

“You can do it slowly and methodically over a very, very long period of time. It’s vulnerability.”

The SIM card was said to have been inserted into a sealed part of the vehicle, imported from a supplier in China. The document notes that automakers are reluctant to open these components because doing so would void the warranty and therefore the geo-tracking device was not detected.

A former GCHQ analyst told the newspaper it was unlikely to have been a targeted operation targeting a single politician, but rather represented a broad approach to data mining by the Chinese Communist Party.

“It’s more about quantity than anything specific,” said the former GCHQ analyst. “The goal is to put trackers in as many cars as possible and then locate interesting sites.”

“If you step back and say what cars park outside GCHQ or somewhere like Porton Down, you have the pool of information if you need it.”

A former senior intelligence officer also claimed that the threat from Chinese technology is potentially huge, noting, “Can the Chinese follow our politicians if they want to? Yes. Can the Russians track down our politicians if they want to? Yes. Can they listen to what they do in cars? If they follow them and they want to do it, of course you can.

The report comes just days after British independent watchdog Fraser Sampson warned that more than one in three police officers in Britain are using Chinese surveillance technology with potential backdoors for the communist government, posing a threat to the country’s security. Earlier this year, the same watchdog alleged that some Chinese-made surveillance cameras in the UK had hidden microphones that could be activated remotely.

In addition to concerns about using Chinese technology as an espionage tool, the CCP has also been accused of more traditional espionage. Last year, intelligence agency MI5 alleged that Christine Lee, the founder of the British Chinese Project, was operating in Westminster as a spy for Beijing. She also reportedly made large donations to the left-wing Labor Party.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former leader of the Conservative Party and founding member of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance for China, commenting on Chinese allegedly installing tracking devices in British government cars, said: “I don’t know how much more the UK needs to know about the threat that China represents for all of us.

“It is definitely time to change the integrated assessment and label China as a systemic threat.”

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London dismissed the allegations as defamation aimed at curtailing trade with Beijing, saying: “We strongly oppose political manipulation of normal economic and trade cooperation or defamation against Chinese companies.

“The Chinese government always encourages Chinese enterprises to establish foreign trade and investment cooperation in accordance with local laws, market principles and international guidelines. We strongly oppose attempts by some people to deliberately expand the concept of national security to exhaust Chinese companies.

“Smudging and suppressing Chinese companies and pushing for disconnection and disruption of industrial and supply chains not only seriously undermines the rules of international trade, but will also fragment the global market and sabotage the security and stability of industrial and supply chains. worldwide deliveries.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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