Chinese military personnel will no longer be allowed to wear smartwatches at all times while they are on duty.
According to the Chinese military’s official publication, The People’s Liberation Army Daily, the move by the Chinese government came after security concerns were raised following an incident where a new army recruit received a smartwatch for his birthday.
The new mandate prohibits any military personnel from wearing smartwatches and other wearable gadgets.
News website NBC said they were able to independently confirm that a ban on these wearable gadgets is now being implemented.
In an article published by the BBC, it appears that the restriction on wearable gadgets in the Chinese military does not really come as a surprise, as majority of its army are already banned from using mobile phones.
The People’s Liberation Army Daily said that leaders from the Chinese army convened with security experts in the country in April after a personnel reportedly attempted to take pictures of his colleagues while they were stationed at the city of Nanjing.
Shortly after that meeting, a Chinese government agency responsible for the safekeeping of the country’s secrets ordered the following:
“The use of wearables with internet access, location information, and voice-calling functions should be considered a violation of confidential regulations when used by military personnel.”
The People’s Liberation Army Daily added that the agency has now distributed materials informing them of the decree and warning them of the consequences that the violation of the order holds.
“The moment a soldier puts on a device that can record high-definition audio and video, take photos, and process and transmit data, it’s very possible for him or her to be tracked or to reveal military secrets,” it said.
The Chinese government’s ban on wearable gadgets for its military personnel is the first of its kind to be made known so far. Some countries ban their military personnel from using gadgets only during operations conducted in security-sensitive areas.
But security experts say the rise in the popularity of wearable gadgets does pose a challenge to all military forces in every country across the world.
According to British defense think tank Rusi spokesman:
“Any self-aware organization will have measures for operational security.”
“Anything that is networked – whether it is in your pocket or on your wrist – can be remotely accessed and exploited by others to provide an advantage to adversaries.
“That can happen inadvertently or be done deliberately, so it needs to be controlled wherever possible.