Apple: Chinese firm to operate China iCloud accounts
11 January, 2018, 15:35
Applesaid the new arrangement with the Chinese internet services company Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD) - which is owned by the Government of Guizhou province in south-west China - will allow it to comply with Chinese regulations and improve the quality of its cloud service.
Apple started informing its Chinese iCloud users from Wednesday, with data transferred and uploaded to the new database automatically.
Those iCloud customers in mainland China who don't want to use iCloud operated by GCBD can delete their account before February 28. The company issued a reassuring-sounding statement that the same encryption standards would be applied, and that 'no backdoors will be created into any of our systems.' However, Apple's revised iCloud terms and conditions for the country make it clear that GCBD will have full access to the data. "This includes permission sharing, exchange, and disclosure of all user data (including content) according to the application of the law".
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.
Some onlookers were quick to take Apple to task for what they considered a move that encourages and promotes China's censorship policies. However, this isn't the core motivating factor in Apple's decision here.
The company also told the newspaper that it would notify the Chinese mainland users about the upcoming changes for the next seven weeks starting on Wednesday.
According to a new report, the migration of iCloud accounts is also affecting a number of accounts that were opened in the US, are paid for with USA dollars, and are connected with US -based App Store accounts.
However Weibo users responding to the post were not convinced the change was exclusively aimed at improving performance.
The benign interpretation of this would be that GCBD only has access to the encrypted data, which it needs in order to operate the servers, and would have no more access to the data than the USA government.
"The best advertisement for moving overseas", wrote another, using the name StevenChan754.
For Apple users, iCloud is typically a place to store data such as music, photos and contacts.
"Do you really think only China monitors its people?"
The Cupertino company revealed that it will begin migrating data to a local data center from February 28, having opened a new facility in Guizhoulast July to comply with cybersecurity laws introduced last June. Apple announced the partnership with GCBD previous year and claims the new iCloud operations will help the company comply with Chinese regulations.