Apple Disturbingly Announces that their Chinese Partner for iCloud Services will have equal access to Chinese Customer data
Last July Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple to Comply with China's Cyber Security Law by Partnering with 'Guizhou-Cloud' to Set Up new Data Center." The report noted that Apple was setting up its first data center in China, in partnership with a local internet services company, to comply with tougher cyber-security laws introduced in June 2017. At the time Apple was quick to point out that "No backdoors will be created into any of our systems." Well, that's obviously changed with a new rather disturbing announcement made today by Apple.
In a new report by the BBC, the reveal that Apple's iCloud services will be operated in China by a Chinese company beginning on February 28. Apple has contacted its customers in China advising them to examine new terms and conditions. Specifically Apple noted that "They include a clause that both Apple and the Chinese firm will have access to all data stored on iCloud.
Apple said it had made the move to comply with the country's cloud computing regulations.
Having domestic control over mainland Chinese iCloud accounts will delight the Beijing authorities, who have been pushing to oversee Apple's software presence in the country for months.
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's Tim Cook spoke at a technology conference in China last month (click on photo above to enlarge). It was reported by 9to5Mac at the time that "Apple and Tim Cook are again under fire for their relationship with the Chinese government. Following criticism from Senators Ted Cruz and Patrick Leahy, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida today slammed Tim Cook for his appearance at the state-run World Internet Conference."
Business Insider also published a report on this titled "The CEOs of Apple and Google spoke at a conference that critics say makes them 'complicit actors in the Chinese censorship regime'."
When the original report about Apple's move in Gouizhou was made, I don't think anyone thought that it would move to Apple having to allow their customer's data being accessed by authorities. This is disturbing and will have critics tearing Apple apart for compromising customer data. In fact it's hypocritical to the nth degree.
Some could now make the argument that Apple's stance on privacy just went out the window. It could also open the door for the FBI to make a legal case that they too should have access to Apple's customer data via the cloud on demand like in China. With the new FBI director pounding the table at a security conference yesterday over the problems with smartphone encrypted data, today's news from Apple could open a new door for the Government's case against Apple and encryption in general.
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