British government found Chinese tracking chip in diplomatic vehicle

The device was installed presumably by the manufacturer inside a sealed part of the vehicle imported from China.

U.K. intelligence agents found a Chinese tracking device in a government vehicle. The discovery was made as part of an operation ordered after recurrent threats from foreign spyware.

According to a British newspaper inews, a SIM card capable of transmitting location data was attached to a car used to transport officials and diplomats. The device was inside a sealed part imported from China and installed by the vehicle manufacturer.

A member of the Intelligence services told inews that SIM cards of this type give "the ability to survey government over a period of months and years." In addition, they track movements, building a very complete history of the card's activity.

Growing distrust

Over the past few years, in line with the United States, London hardened its stance towards Beijing. For example, in November 2022, the U.K. government had already ordered all ministries to stop installing Chinese-made surveillance cameras at strategic points.

The distrust stems, in large part, from the law that obliges Chinese companies to share information with state agencies. Thus, the discovery of the SIM card confirms the government's fears, currently headed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

In 2020, the U.K. vetoed China-based multinational technology company Huawei, citing a risk to the security of 5G networks. The measure requires the withdrawal of all the company's equipment already installed in the national networks, with a deadline in 2027.