Chinese dissident given spyware in electronics

Several electronic devices that were given to Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese legal advocate, soon after his arrival in the United States last year were loaded with spyware designed to track his family’s movements and their online activity.   Two of those devices, an iPhone and an iPad, were given to Mr. Chen by China Aid, a Texas-based Christian group that pushes for greater religious freedom in China. Bob Fu, the president of the group, said that he was out of the country when Mr. Chen arrived in New York so his wife, Heidi, handed over the equipment. The discovery of the tracking software came as a complete surprise, he said.
School officials, bowing to pressure from the Chinese government, sought to curtail his public advocacy and then forced him to leave the Greenwich Village campus sooner than he expected.
The gifts, along with at least two other phones that were handed to the assistant, arrived on the chaotic day Mr. Chen and his family landed in New York. After an examination by N.Y.U. technicians, all the devices were found to be compromised with spyware, said an associate, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.
The spyware included global positioning software that allowed a third party to track the whereabouts of the device, and presumably its owner, and another program that copied its contents to a remote server. After removing the spyware, technicians returned the Apple devices to the Chens, who were told about what had happened. The two other phones, their provenance a mystery, were not given to Mr. Chen.

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