China’s army has imposed a ban on smartwatches and wearable tech over security fears.
According to the People’s Liberation Army Daily, the Chinese military’s official newspaper, security concerns had been raised after one recruit had received a smartwatch as a birthday gift.
One expert said the move was a natural extension of restrictions already placed by most armies on mobile phones.
The warning was prompted by one incident in a military district in East China where a new recruit received a smartwatch as a gift from his girlfriend and tried to use the device to take a photo of his fellow soldiers.
The newspaper said the country’s agency responsible for protecting state secrets subsequently issued the following decree: “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.”
It reported that teaching materials and warning signs had subsequently been created to ensure that the message was spread among military personnel.
“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,” the newspaper added.
One expert suggested, however, that the rise of wearable tech posed a challenge to military forces across the globe.
The army ban comes on the heels of a separate controversy over a Chinese TV anchor who appeared on-air wearing what looked like an Apple Watch and was accused by some viewers of “showing off her wealth.”