Experts concerned about Europe’s dependence on Chinese Nuctech security scanners

A huge number of sensitive locations around the world are equipped with security scanners from a single company, Nuctech, which, as it turns out, is closely associated with the PRC army and the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

These locations, in particular, include the World Economic Forum in Davos, the largest airports in Europe, NATO, etc. Their safety directly depends on the equipment manufactured by Nuctech, which has quickly become one of the world leaders in the production of security scanners for cargo and transport.

In the US, Nuctech has been under national security sanctions for several years, but in Europe its presence is very tangible. According to the Associated Press, Nuctech equipment is used in 26 of the 27 EU countries.

The company’s complex ownership structure and expansion of its presence in the global market is causing concern on both sides of the Atlantic.

Bart Groothuis
Bart Groothuis

Every day, a growing number of Western security officials and lawmakers fear that China could use Nuctech equipment to sabotage key transit points or gain illegal access to government, industrial and personal data from facilities passing through Nuctech devices.

The data being processed by these devices is very sensitive. It’s personal data, military data, cargo data. It might be trade secrets at stake. You want to make sure it’s in right hands.You’re dependent on a foreign actor which is a geopolitical adversary and strategic rival.Bart Groothuis said, director of cybersecurity at the Dutch Ministry of Defense.

The company is subsidized by the Chinese government, so it could easily outperform competitors and provide Beijing with the potential to influence critical infrastructure in the West as China seeks to establish itself as a global tech superpower, experts say.

Nuctech dismisses all suspicions, stating that all of its operations in Europe are in full compliance with local laws.

It’s our equipment, but it’s your data. Our customer decides what happens with the data.said Robert Bos, deputy general manager of Nuctech in the Netherlands.

In addition to scanners for people, luggage and cargo, the company also makes explosive detectors and interconnected devices capable of face recognition, body temperature measurement and identification of an identity card or ticket.

Critics fear that under Chinese law requiring Chinese companies to provide data at the request of intelligence agencies, Nuctech will not be able to resist Beijing’s requests to transfer confidential data about cargo, people and devices passing through scanners.

According to them, the authorities of the Middle Kingdom can take advantage of Nuctech’s ubiquitous presence in Europe to collect big data on cross-border trade flows, extract information from local networks such as cargo manifests and passenger details, and sabotage trade flows in case of conflicts.

Recall that we also wrote that CIA informed its partners about the linkage of Huawei and Chinese intelligence service, and also that the Lithuanian authorities discovered censorship in Xiaomi smartphones.

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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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