Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Apple's iCloud in China to be run by local company

Apple's iCloud in China to be run by local company

In Apple's case, it announced that it would comply with the law by partnering with Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) - a company owned by the provincial government. First spotted by 9to5Mac, this move doesn't seem all that surprising because it's been known since a year ago that Apple announced a partnership with a local firm, but we didn't know exactly when the iPhone maker was planning to move iCloud operations.

Previously, Chinese customers' iCloud data have been stored in Apple's overseas data centers.

The sentence was added to a section covering Apple and GCBD's rights to disclose content stored on the servers to police and government officials.

Apple has already notified customers based in China to examine the new terms and conditions and given those who do not want to use iCloud as operated by GCBD the option to terminate their account.

Apple is not the only American tech company to comply with China's cybersecurity laws.

In that agreement, AWS explained to The Register, Beijing Sinnet took over the physical infrastructure of AWS's bit barns, but not the IP: "AWS continues to own the intellectual property for AWS Services worldwide".

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Apple announced previous year that it would transfer its Chinese iCloud operations to a local firm to comply with the country's new cybersecurity laws. Despite this, Apple has previously stated that it would create no back doors for governments or other organizations to access customer data, a claim it maintained today when it announced its plans for transferring data to local servers. Any iCloud accounts registered outside of China will not be affected.

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.

If you aren't happy with the move, you are given a choice to entirely close your iCloud account before the February 28th deadline.

Influential media subsequently launched an attack on the company and called for a boycott of Apple products.

Apart from securing a data centre venture with the Guizhou provincial government, U.S. mobile chip supplier Qualcomm also signed a strategic cooperation with the government in 2016 to design and sell server chipsets in China.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook defended the action at the time, saying he would "rather not" be doing it, adding he hoped the restrictions would be "lessened" over time.

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