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Pan Yuan - Group Leader of TAF’s Information Security Working Group (WG4)

GlobalPlatform spoke to TAF to understand the role it plays in the Chinese telecommunications sector and how its goals align with those of GlobalPlatform.

Please introduce us to TAF, and the overall aims and objectives of the organization.

Telecommunication Terminal Testing Technology Association (TAF) is a non-profit member organization, founded by the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology (CAICT) with the authorization of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of the People’s Republic of China. The organization facilitates the functional testing, compliance activity and sourcing of security technology for the Chinese telecommunications market. It also brings together communications operators, manufacturers of smartphones and chipsets, software providers, accreditation and academic organizations to work towards areas of common interest.

What are the current trends in the Chinese telecommunications industry?

Telecommunications is a huge and fiercely competitive market in China. As with many markets around the world, security issues are being taken very seriously. Security is therefore becoming a significant strategy consideration for the large number of mobile device manufacturers that contribute to our membership.

What are TAF’s current priorities?

TAF has a significant range of priorities today, including research, consultancy and fostering industry communication. Our first priority is to build a bridge between government and our members, encouraging communication and publicizing government policies in our industry. We also research policy and development trends, as well as offering support to government research initiatives and drafting telecommunications device administration policies.

At the same time we are working on organizing discussion, cooperation and exchange around telecommunications device technology. Our research covers the direction in which these technologies are developing and we offer consultancy and strategic advice about industry advancements.

TAF also offers consultancy, training and other services in the area of telecommunication device testing as well as technical support for manufacturers of these devices. We also organize and implement technical research, consultancy, testing and approval on telecommunications device interoperability and compatibility, and offer technical support to communications operators.

Finally we’ve been responsible for allocating and managing the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers of Chinese mobile telecommunications device equipment since 2008. This involves cooperation and exchange with related international organizations, for example the GSM Association (GSMA), British Approvals Board for Telecommunications (BABT) and Mobile Standards Alliance of India (MSAI).

Why is TAF working with GlobalPlatform and what do you hope to achieve initially and in the longer term through this partnership?

Both TAF and GlobalPlatform have the common long term goal of driving the development of secure application based on standardized Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) technologies. As part of the collaboration, TAF will focus on the establishment of TEE testing and certification in the Chinese market.

How will this joint work benefit the market?

TAF intends to act as a link between Chinese vendors and GlobalPlatform on matters related to TEE testing and certification. This will allow TAF to consolidate feedback and requirements from the vendor community to share with GlobalPlatform, speeding up the development of the TEE ecosystem in China.

Why is a standardized Trusted Execution Environment important to the Chinese marketplace?

Simply put, standardization will promote the growth of the TEE in China and will expand the range of applications for TEE technology.  Standardization will allow for the creation of a ‘mass market’ for secure digital services and ensure that those services will work on any device that has been certified by TAF as being compliant to the GlobalPlatform specifications.