China has asked some US tech firms to promise they would not harm the country's national security

China asks US tech firms to provide 'back door key'

China is asking US technology firms to pledge to uphold policies that could see them turn user data and intellectual property over to the government, according to a report.

A story in The New York Times claims that Beijing had distributed a document to several US firms earlier this summer that asked them to promise not to harm China's national security and to store Chinese user data within the country.

According to unnamed sources, the document also asked companies to ensure that their products are "secure and controllable", which industry groups have suggested could be translated as a requirement to allow the government to build so-called 'back doors' that would allow third-party access to systems.

Officials at the Cyberspace Administration of China did not respond to a faxed request seeking comment, but the news follows the adoption of a sweeping national security law by China's legislature in July that said all key network infrastructure and information systems must be "secure and controllable".

The report did not identify which companies had been asked to make the pledge, but the news could add to tensions over cyber-security ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the USA.

Reuters reported last month that China had recently resumed work on a set of banking cyber-security regulations it suspended in April, after regulators said they would consider feedback from domestic banks.

In their previous form, the regulations contained provisions that required Chinese banks to buy more domestic IT equipment and Western tech vendors to disclose their source code if they sell to lenders - a move that drew strong protests from foreign business lobbies, the US and European governments.

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