Say What?! Feds Tell IT Execs to Trash Mobile Phones After Visiting China


Photo via bvsciguy via Flickr CC

US government officials are concerned about potential security threats for IT executives for software development companies who are visiting China. They lend advice like weighing your laptop before your return. A bit worse is their advice to buy separate electronics for use specifically when in China. But it seems their paranoia turns simply wacky as they tell execs to buy a new cellphone before leaving, and throw it away when they head home.Really? The irony is ripe. Are we honestly lending advice for IT execs to increase e-waste when returning from a country suffering from e-waste nightmares?? All instead of carefully checking equipment for the malware the government is worried about?

According to CRN, and pointed out by Slashdot:

Mark Bregman, chief technology officer at security firm Symantec said he left his MacBook Pro behind in the US and took his MacBook Air whenever he flew to China. Bregman said he only ever used the Air in China and re-imaged the machine every time he returned home... "I was advised by people in three-letter agencies in the US Government to weigh the machine before I left and when I got back," Bregman said.

"They also don't want me to take my phone. They said to buy a mobile phone in the US and throw it away when you come back."

With nearly half a million cell phones discarded in the US alone every day, there is little reason that IT security software company officials should be tossing out new electronics instead of scanning and scrubbing the systems clean when they return from business trips. As Bergman states: "If you're a big company doing development in China the US government asks, 'Why should we trust you? We won't buy from you.'" However, he said every software company used developers in China including Microsoft, Oracle and others."

It comes down to overreaction that can cause absurd waste.

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Tags: Cell Phones | China | Electronics | E-Waste | Gadgets