(CNN) A Chinese technology company has successfully cracked the encryption of Apple’s AirDrop wireless file sharing feature to identify users of the popular feature, according to the Beijing Justice Bureau.
Beijing-based cyber god Dongjian Technology can help police track people who use the service to send “inappropriate messages” to passers-by on the Beijing subway, the agency said in a statement on Monday.
The company identified the sender’s mobile phone number and email address as part of its post-complaint investigation, the statement said. He said several suspects had been identified but did not elaborate on the nature of the information.
AirDrop has been blamed for annoying messages some travelers receive on subways and buses in Chinese cities. Protesters also reportedly used popular wireless file-sharing capabilities in the final months of 2022 to spread anonymous messages critical of the Chinese government.
The company “overcame the technical difficulties of anonymous tracking through AirDrop,” the statement said, “preventing the further spread and potential adverse impact of inappropriate remarks.”
CNN has reached out to Apple (AAPL) for comment.
According to reports from international media outlets including The New York Times and Vice World News, some Chinese residents are using AirDrop, which can only be used between Apple devices, to distribute leaflets and images related to a rare October campaign targeting Chinese leader Xi Jinping. echoed the slogans used in the protests. of that year.
In 2019, AirDrop, which only works over short distances, was particularly popular among anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, who often used the feature to send colorful posters and artwork to subway passengers urging them to join the protests.
In November 2022, Apple began restricting AirDrop sharing with people outside of Chinese device contacts, making it difficult for users to share files with people they don’t know. Later, this feature was expanded globally.