A hidden Chinese tracking device was reportedly discovered in a UK Government car causing national security fears. A news report by the i claimed that the device was found after intelligence officials stripped back vehicles in response to growing concerns over spyware.
A source told the publication that the “geolocating device had been placed into a vehicle inside a sealed part imported from a supplier in China and installed by the vehicle manufacturer.”
A serving security source revealed that one SIM card capable of transmitting location data was discovered in a sweep of Government and diplomatic vehicles which uncovered “disturbing things”.
However, the Chinese officials dismissed the revelations as “groundless and sheer rumour”, adding: “We are firmly opposed to political manipulation on normal economic and trade cooperation or any smear on Chinese enterprises.”
Officials had dismantled the British Government vehicles and swept them deliberately for Chinese tracking SIMs to step up the UK’s defence against espionage from hostile states, according to two intelligence sources.
A serving intelligence officer told the i that at least one secret SIM card had been found during the searches.
The report added: “Such cards are capable of tracking the movement of vehicles and sending data back to state-owned suppliers in China had been found during the searches.”
The officer told i that the cars have been “dismantled surgically down to the last nut and bolt” by intelligence workers and “rather disturbing things” have been found.
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A former senior intelligence officer said the potential threat is “huge” because foreign intelligence services look to exploit “backdoors” with Chinese technology.
He told the i: “Can the Chinese track our politicians if they want to? Yes. Can the Russians track our politicians if they want to? Yes.
“Can they listen to what they’re up to in the cars?
“If they’re tracking them, and they want to do that, of course they can.”