ibusinesslines.com March 22, 2018

Apple Hands Off China iCloud Data Operations

11 January 2018, 03:39 | Justin Tyler

Operations of Apple's iCloud services in China are about to be transferred to a company in Guizhou

Apple iCloud

In a report from TechCrunch, the tech website said it had spoken with a number of users who fit into the above category, but who are nonetheless having their iCloud data moved over to a server handled by Apple's China-based local partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) from February 28.

While the new agreement hands off local iCloud operations to GCBD, both the Chinese firm and Apple have access to data stored in Chinese iCloud accounts.

Nevertheless, some remain concerned that moving the operations locally will potentially make it easier for the government to eavesdrop on Apple users in the country.

Apple said that this move will "improve the speed and reliability of our iCloud services products while also complying with newly passed regulations that cloud services be operated by Chinese companies".

That means that all data - including photos, videos, documents, and other personal information - uploaded by Apple customers in China to their iCloud accounts will be stored in GCBD's database from then on.

While that infrastructure project was drawn up to comply with China's Cybersecurity Law, it also showed how Apple and other major hi-tech companies have shown their support for Beijing's goal to turn the poor and mostly mountainous province into a world-class hi-tech location. Objectors will have to deactivate their iCloud account.

Government media have been exerting increased pressure on Apple to operate in line with China's strict media regulations, or else be forced out of the market.

"Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems", the company said in a statement Wednesday.

A message sent from Apple to iCloud users in China.

The Chinese government changed the law a year ago, requiring Apple and other companies offering cloud storage to use local companies to store the data.

In July 2017, Apple removed at least 60 Virtual Private Network (VPN) service providers from its China app store after a request from the Chinese government.

While this isn't the first time Apple has made accommodations to work with the Chinese government, despite accusations of surveillance, it is certainly going to be troubling to some users - particularly because of the dilemmas it throws up going forward.

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