China walks out of wireless LAN security talks

R.A. Hettinga rah at
Fri Feb 25 19:17:01 PST 2005

Time to put on the tinfoil hats and impute conspiracy to what is more
probably, as Pournelle once observed, incompetence...

China walks out of wireless LAN security talks

Patrick Mannion
 Feb 24, 2005 (12:26 PM)

MANHASSET, N.Y. - China walked out of a wireless standards meeting this
week, accusing the International Organization for Standardization of
favoring the IEEE's 802.11i ANSI-certified wireless LAN security scheme
over its own controverisal proposal, EE Times has learned.

 The gambit came after China's Wireless Authentication and Privacy
Infrastructure (WAPI) security scheme was withdrawn and placed on a slower
track by the ISO. This week's meeting in Sulzbach, Germany, included the
ISO/IEC JTC1 SC6 WG1 working group created to resolve the dispute.

 China initially agreed last year to refrain from making its WAPI security
scheme mandatory for wireless LAN equipment in China. It then approached
ISO with a fast-track submission in an effort to make WAPI an international
security standard. The 802.11i proposal is also on the fast-track for ISO
approval, possibly by April. Until this week, the ISO group was focused on
whether or not both 802.11i and WAPI should be cemented as enhanced - but
optional - security standards.

 However, sources said tempers flared when China's original fast-track
submission, designated 1N7506 of China National Standard GB15629.11 (WAPI),
was withdrawn from consideration. It was replaced by a revised submission,
designated 6N12687, that removed the China proposal from the organization's
fast-track approval process.

 The withdrawal was based on a procedural issue, according to a source, and
the clock for approval was reset indefinitely to a later submission. The
result is a delay in moving the WAPI proposal through ISO.

 Sources said China walked out specifially over disputes centering on which
members have authority to seek a withdrawal and the timing of the request.
Chinese delegates also accused ISO of favoring the IEEE 802.11i proposal.

 It remains unclear for now whether the dispute will affect the current
suspension of China's original law requiring mandatory implementation of
WAPI. The IEEE is currently drafting a formal response, but declined to

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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