Big brother is watching?

“In China they track everybody’s movements. They put spyware in people’s phones. So if you’re using one of these new taxis, what’s to stop them dumping spyware on your phone, as they do at the moment you touchdown in China?”


Comment by Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former Conservative Party leader in the UK, quoted in The Times. The politician – who has made hawkish statements about Beijing before – was reacting to news that Chinese ride-sharing platform Didi Global had obtained its first licences to operate its app-based services in Salford, Sheffield, Wolverhampton and Manchester.


Keeping track, Aug 27, 2021: In WiC552 our Sinofile quoted former UK Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith’s comment opposing cities like Manchester, Sheffield and Wolverhampton giving operating licences to Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Global. He and some of his colleagues in the ruling Conservative Party were against this on national security and data privacy concerns. This week British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Didi had suspended its plans to launch its ‘taxi’ services in those UK cities. The firm was doing so amid a regulatory backlash in its home market (see WiC548). It also said it would suspend its launches in other European cities too. Staff working on the new ventures have been told that they face possible redundancy and Didi has stopped hiring in Britain, pulling its launch plans for at least a year, according to The Telegraph report.

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