To comply with local Russian laws, Apple has been storing some iCloud information of its Russian customers in locally hosted servers. The information is pretty limited and includes their full name, address, email, and phone number. Apple, however, does tend to store a bit more information about its Russian employees including their passport details, work history, and more.
It is not new for Apple to store a certain amount of information of its customers in local servers. The company had to move the data of its Chinese customers to locally hosted servers managed by a local Chinese company to comply with the government regulations.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had said back in October that Apple needs to comply with local government regulations, though users do not need to worry about their data being accessed by third-parties since it is encrypted using Apple’s own tech.
“We have servers located in many different countries in the world,” he told Vice News in an October interview. “They are not easier to get data from being in one country versus the next. The key question is how does the encryption process work and who owns the keys if anyone? In most cases for us, you and the receiver own the keys.”
In 2014, Apple resisted the Russian government’s move to store the data of Russian customers locally as a part of the DigitalEurope industry group. However, since 2017, the Russian government has been enforcing the regulation strictly and it even threatened to shut down Facebook if it did not comply with the local regulations. Apple also had to comply with a request from the Russian government that saw it withholding updates to the Telegram messaging app for over two months.