China asks FBI chief to help battle terrorism, hackers

China asks FBI chief to help battle terrorism, hackers
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Chinese leaders on Monday urged FBI Director James Comey to work more closely with his Beijing counterparts on Internet security and anti-terrorism cases.

The message came during a meeting in Beijing between Comey and Chinese Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun, according to Xinhua, a state-run news agency.

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“The two sides agreed to have more pragmatic cooperation in cybersecurity and anti-terrorism,” the report said.

The meeting comes at a time of heightened scrutiny for the FBI.

The bureau is currently in a standoff with Apple over a court order directing the tech giant to help unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

Apple defied the order, arguing the FBI’s request would set a dangerous precedent that could lead to foreign countries, like China, asking for similar help to access secure, private data.

The FBI has insisted the request is narrow and related to one case, although Comey acknowledged the outcome will likely set a legal precedent.

More broadly, digital security has been a key sticking point between the U.S. and China in recent years.

The Obama administration has frequently accused Beijing of orchestrating a massive cyber campaign to pilfer American trade secrets, angering major industry groups. In September, the two sides struck a deal to eradicate this type of corporate hacking, but U.S. officials have not yet publicly assessed whether China is complying.

China has also irked the international business community with a series of national security laws that foreign businesses say could give Beijing access to their source code and user data.

The Xinhua report did not elaborate on how the U.S. and China were planning to tighten law enforcement cooperation in national security cases.