As Myer and Harvey Norman look to establish online operations in China, the Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, has warned that there are “real risks” that the Chinese Government will get access to information such as transaction and credit card details if retailers keep their data on servers in mainland China.Speaking to ChannelNews at the retail forum in Sydney Conroy said that “several Western Governments have expressed concern about databases being located in China.” He said.
“There is a real risk that the Chinese Government will have access to the data” he said.
In January, both Harvey Norman and Myer said that they were in the processes of establishing online trading operations in China, what is not known is where the transaction data will be held.
Earlier in the day an attendee at the Internet retail forum organised by Conroy’s department, asked whether the Federal Government should bring in legislation which forces web site operators to identify where an online operator was locating their transaction databases.
Conroy, who took time out to personally address the security issue, with the individual who had raised the original question said that there are “legitimate concerns ” about overseas based databases “Several Governments have issued warnings” he said.
He also admitted that online database security is an issue that the Federal Government is constantly addressing.
Recently both the German and Canadian Government issued warnings about locating online transaction databases in China. The Canadian warning came after Canadian Government computers were recently attacked by hackers, who they believed were based in China.
The attackers cracked the web-sites of the Canadian Ministry of Finance and the Treasury Board and gained access to other government databases.
The attacks on Canadian government servers were first attempted in early January.