Thursday 25 February 2021

Questions asked about Chinese firm Nuctech’s role in border controls: FD

A Nuctech scanner. Photo: Nuctech

Questions are being asked in the Netherlands and Europe about the use of scanners made by Chinese company Nuctech to check goods arriving at Rotterdam port, at airports and in distribution centres, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday.

Lithuania’s government has said the company should not be allowed to install equipment at Lithuania’s three international airports because of data security issues and Canada and the US have already taken that decision, the paper reported.

Various arms of the Dutch customs department use Nuctech scanners to check baggage and packages, as well as containers and lorries arriving or leaving the EU, the paper said.

However, according to the customs service, the scanners are stand alone and do not present a risk because they are linked to a closed data network.

Nuctech is part-owned by the Chinese government and has its European headquarters in Rotterdam.

You are installing a vulnerability at the level of national security,’ security and crisis management advisor Glenn Schoen told the FD. ‘Suppose that a kill switch could be built in and that at some point we are involved in a trade war with China. If the country turns off all the scanners, we will have problems for months.’

However, Robert Bos, director of Nuctech Europe, told the FD the company has been working with governments in Europe for 17 years. ‘Our products meet strict European requirements,’ he said. ‘There has never been an incident with data or technology.’

CDA MEP Tom Berendsen said that questions would be raised in parliament. ‘This is a Chinese state-controlled company which is involved in strategic parts of our border security,’ he told the paper. ‘We should not be naive about China’s wish to expand its global influence.’

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