HomeeCommerce NewsAlibaba accused of 'possible espionage' in its European hub: Report

Alibaba accused of ‘possible espionage’ in its European hub: Report

The security service said the “presence of Alibaba constitutes a point of attention for the VSSE because of legislation forcing Chinese companies to share their data with Chinese authorities and intelligence services. China has the intent and capacity to use this data for non-commercial purposes”. Belgium’s justice minister also added that “the early negotiations with Alibaba were from “a former century”, adding that “times of naïveté have changed. In July, a new law entered into force in the country to screen foreign investments in critical infrastructure”. It is also added that “The site in Liège is the only European logistics center run by Alibaba’s logistics spin-off Cainiao. It mainly handles goods sold directly to European consumers through the online shopping site AliExpress.”

The report adds that “The logistics hub is in an industrial area of warehouses, which has access to the airport’s airfield. Employees load and unload goods from planes and directly wheel them into the 30,000 square meter hangar to be sorted and sent on. Cainiao is applying for a permit to more than triple the size of its warehouses to 100,000 sq m” and mentioned that “Concerns about potential espionage at the site were first raised before the hub was built, including in the Belgian parliament. At the time, China strongly denied the “unprovoked insinuations” over-exaggerated “so-called security risks of Chinese companies”.

Cainiao denied any suggestion of wrongdoing, referring to EU’s data protection regulation, and mentioned that “Data security and privacy protection is of paramount concern to our business. We are in compliance with all laws and regulations, including GDPR.” A professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel said that “The main concern is that this platform, alongside a couple of other logistical platforms that the Chinese have been proposing to European countries, is giving them a lot of insights into supply chains and into eventual vulnerabilities.” Alibaba’s sources tell FT that “the logistics centres are expected to pass on information about local sentiment and report data about European trade and logistics to Beijing’s authorities”. Cainiao said the data from its logistics hub in Liège was stored in servers located in Germany and operated by Alibaba Cloud, and that the data provided insights for its operations.

Alf Alferez
Alf Alferez
Dedicated writer with a strong track record of developing customer loyalty and managing general office operations. Enjoy being a part of a company where my skills and creative ideas will benefit the overall productivity of the organization. I have a strong desire to work in helping make the world a better place. Please reach out to me on alf@ecommercenext.org

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