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China to Appeal for Fair Position of Homegrown Wireless Security Tech

China will appeal to ISO for "fair position" of China's homegrown WLAN security technology WAPI which was voted down in the fast track ballot for international standard last week, according to sources with ChinaBWIPS Monday.


In a statement issued Monday, ChinaBWIPS (China Broadband Wireless IP standard Group) called for fair position of the country's homegrown WLAN (wireless local area networks) security technology WAPI.


China's WAPI and American IEEE802.11i applied to the ISO for international standard last October.


The fast track ballot that ended last week shows that a total of 30 national bodies cast vote on WAPI with 8 votes in favor and 31 national bodies cast vote on 1N7903, with 24 votes in favor.


Describing the ballot result as "unjust for WAPI", the ChinaBWIPS statement said that it is "unfairly influenced by IEEE's unethical behavior and prejudices". IEEE is the American organization that made the 802.11i standard.


The adoption of 11i will "bring serious threats to the information security of international community", said the statement.


As it is widely acknowledged that current WLAN technology 802.11 is weak in security, WAPI and 11i were developed to fix the loophole, one mainly by Chinese company IWNCOMM and the other mainly by Intel, said Li Jinlang, a Chinese expert in telecom.


China's WAPI experienced a hard voting process as current WLAN market is dominated by Intel and it may hurt the interests of the monopoly group owning the existing technology to adopt WAPI as an international standard, said Li.


“We have noticed that during the comment and balloting periods, American IEEE and its representatives have used a lot of dirty tricks including deception, misinformation, confusion and reckless charging to lobby against WAPI," said ChinaBWIPS in its statement.


The statement said that the ballot result reached under such a situation is unfair, unreasonable and cannot be accepted.


ChinaBWIPS also accused American IEEE of violating ISO rules to provide excuses to some national bodies for voting against WAPI. The organization collected a series of evidences for that accusation and listed them on its official website.


China would not accept the "hypocritical proposal of forcing the seriously handicapped 11i proposal into international standard" and then using Chinese WAPI's advanced technology to fix the security loopholes of 11i, said ChinaBWIPS.


The adoption of 11i into international standard would "endanger the international community and lead to WLAN being monopolized by insecure technologies", the statement said.


The organization restated that WAPI is an advanced, secure and reliable security solution and can effectively and efficiently fix the security loopholes in WLAN standards.


"WAPI's direct mutual authentication and certification technology gives superior and secure performance that 11i cannot match," it said, adding that security should be the most important factor to consider in evaluating the security amendment proposals.


China selected WAPI as national standard in 2003 and a circular was issued last December to require government procurement of WLAN products meeting the security standard.


The end of fast track ballot does not mean whether a proposal has become or rejected from international standards, said ChinaBWIPS.


According to ISO rules, fast track ballot is a step in international standardization and will be followed by ballot resolution meeting and review by headquarters of ISO/IEC, the sub-commission under ISO responsible for the issue.


ChinaBWIPS said it would request relevant agencies in China to start formal contact with ISO/IEC management and supervisory bodies on this issue and seek redress.


"We will present all information to ISO/IEC headquarters and request ISO/IEC central secretariats to immediately adopt measures, to correct the misconducts during the comment and ballot processes," said the standard group in its statement.


(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2006)


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