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Computers, Hacking and 'Fake' Apple Store among Tech Topics in Tuesday's Presidential Debate
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October 17, 2012

Computers, Hacking and 'Fake' Apple Store among Tech Topics in Tuesday's Presidential Debate

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

While many observers of Tuesday’s presidential debate were focused on who won – or the sometimes heated interruptions of the other candidate – it was clear that the conversation shifted to the technology sector.

One of the most specific topics on technology was when Republican Mitt Romney recalled how a “fake” store was selling “Apple (News - Alert)” products in China.

Moderator Candy Crowley had asked about iPads, Macs and iPhones being manufactured in China – and questioned how to bring outsourced jobs back to the United States.

Romney claimed that China is “stealing our intellectual property; our designs, our patents, our technology.”

“There's even an Apple store in China that's a counterfeit Apple store, selling counterfeit goods,” he added.

Is it true?

The comment led to a fact-checking type article in The Wall Street Journal which claimed that the store was “not an authorized reseller of Apple products, but nonetheless sells authentic Apple products – one of the myriad stores around China that sell Apple products either smuggled into the country or obtained through unofficial channels.”

In addition, last year two “fake” Apple stores were ordered closed by local Chinese government officials in the city of Kunming, according to a report from TechZone360. As of last year, there were four “genuine” Apple Stores in China.

Two were in Beijing and two were in Shanghai, the report added.

Also, TMCnet reported in August that China – which has faced numerous allegations that it has stolen U.S. technology – denied it stole American technology to make its first military attack helicopter.

It was reported in 2011 that piracy, counterfeit U.S. software, and other intellectual property issues in China cost U.S. businesses an estimated $48 billion and 2.1 million jobs in 2009, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission, TMCnet reported.

In another tech-related topic during Tuesday’s debate, Romney also accused China of “hacking into our computers.”

Image via Shutterstock

Earlier this year, Richard Clarke, a cyber-security advisor to former President George Bush, stated that, "Every major company in the United States has already been penetrated by China," according to a report from Computerworld. In addition, TMCnet reported that Clarke identified China's government and its industries “as a major source of the cyber security hacking and espionage” that occurred in 2011.

Recently, a draft Congressional report accused Chinese companies, Huawei (News - Alert) and ZTE, of being security threats to the United States – and recommended they be banned from U.S. business.

Another debate topic which could impact technology companies was when Romney said he wants an end to China holding down the value of their currency. In response, he suggested the United States place tariffs on goods made in China.

“We will have to have people play on a fair basis, that's number one,” Romney said about U.S. trade with China.

In his response, President Barack Obama suggested some types of jobs will not return to the United States – what he described as “low-wage, low-skill jobs.”

“I want high-wage, high-skill jobs. That's why we have to emphasize manufacturing. That's why we have to invest in advanced manufacturing. That's why we've got to make sure that we've got the best science and research in the world,” the Democratic president said.

He also claimed that tax cuts for the wealthy – in an apparent reference to some Republican positions – would lead to “cutting investments in research and science that will create the next Apple, create the next new innovation that will sell products around the world.”

Later, Romney responded that “government does not create jobs.” During the campaign, he frequently cited his experience as a business consultant and executive – which he claims has led to job creation.

Over his administration and during the campaign, Obama has been less critical of China’s currency policies. His campaign has also has claimed that Romney outsourced some jobs overseas during his work in the private sector.

To view a transcript of Tuesday’s debate, please click here.

Edited by Braden Becker

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