Apple today confirmed that it will start storing the iCloud data of its Chinese customers in mainland China. The iCloud servers in the country will be operated by a Chinese company called Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data. It is owned by the Guizhou provincial government in southern China.
The firm will also manage Apple’s $1 billion data center in China.
Apple has already started informing customers in China about the move and recommends them to go through its new terms and conditions. The move will provide Apple and the Chinese firm with access to all data stored on iCloud servers. However, user security will not be compromised in any way and it would be protected with the same encryption standard as used in the United States. Apple is also providing users uncomfortable with this move the option to deactivate their iCloud account.
Some concerns about privacy have been raised with this move as many believe this would allow the Chinese government to easily spy on users. Apple, however, in a statement to 9to5Mac reaffirmed its stand on user data privacy.
“Last year, we announced that Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD) would become the operator of iCloud in China. As we said at the time, we’re committed to continuously improving the user experience, and our partnership with GCBD will allow us 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. Because of our commitment to transparency, there will be a series of customer communications over the course of the next seven weeks to make sure customers are well informed of the coming changes. Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems.”
Apple is being forced to move data of Chinese customers to servers hosted locally in China due to a new government regulation. On the flip side, the move will also help improve the speed and reliability of iCloud services for Apple users in the country. The company will start transitioning user data from February 28. Other tech giants are also expected to soon start migrating the data of Chinese customers to servers hosted locally in the country and managed by a Chinese firm itself.