Apple's Chinese iCloud Data Moved to Servers Managed by State-Owned Mobile Operator

by

Apple's Chinese iCloud operator has agreed a deal with state-owned China Telecom to transfer local customer data to the company's Tianyi cloud storage business, according to TechCrunch.

China Telecom reportedly announced the agreement in a WeChat post, saying that local Apple partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) had migrated all Chinese iCloud customer data to Tianyi servers. Apple separately confirmed the change to TechCrunch.


Back in January, Apple controversially announced that its iCloud services in mainland China would be overseen by GCBD, which was already known to have ties to the Chinese government. GCBD was brought on board to manage Apple's new $1 billion data center, which opened in the region last year.

Customer data stored on iCloud includes emails, text messages, and the encryption keys that protect it. Customers who did not want to use iCloud operated by GCBD were given the option to terminate their account or select a country other than China for their iCloud account.

Apple made the transfer to comply with the latest laws enacted in China regarding regulations on cloud services, requiring foreign firms to store data within the country. The move means Chinese government can use its own legal system to ask Apple for its users' iCloud data, whereas before the government had to go through the U.S. legal system.

Today's development is unlikely to quell the concerns of human rights and privacy advocates, who criticized Apple's original decision to rely on GCBD and questioned whether it will be able to maintain and protect its customers' privacy under the new Chinese laws.

At the time, Apple said, "While we advocated against iCloud being subject to these laws, we were ultimately unsuccessful." Nevertheless, Apple assured customers that no backdoors had been created into any of its systems, and that it retained control of the encryption keys. Whether the new GCBD-Telecom arrangement impinges on Apple's original assurances remains to be seen.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
25 months ago
Watching Apple's pathetic pandering to China over the last couple of years has been fascinating and a little sad to watch.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
This seriously undercuts Apple’s stated commitment to privacy and data protection. They’re basically admitting “We’re committed to privacy until there’s too much money at stake.”
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

What does this mean for people outside China? Does China have access to US / European customers data? What if we travel to China - does our data get much mixed up with the Chinese servers?

No.

But, of course, on all other media outlets will make simplified clickbait headlines where the people will get that their data is directly sent to the communist party.

Journalism these days.
[doublepost=1531909457][/doublepost]

This seriously undercuts Apple’s stated commitment to privacy and data protection. They’re basically admitting “We’re committed to privacy until there’s too much money at stake.”

When the only other option is getting kicked out of the country, making zero money and zero difference.
[doublepost=1531909525][/doublepost]

Watching Apple's pathetic pandering to China over the last couple of years has been fascinating and a little sad to watch.

Yeah, Apple is going to overthrow a regime. Just like google, Microsoft and Amazon are doing right now...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
What does this mean for people outside China? Does China have access to US / European customers data? What if we travel to China - does our data get much mixed up with the Chinese servers?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

Well, I think 'local Apple partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD)' is more state-controlled. China Telecom is a public trading company.

This is Guizhou-Cloud Big Data: https://english.gzdata.com.cn/c101/index.html
It claimed that this company is 'is sponsored by Guizhou Big Data Development Administration and supervised by the Board of Supervisors of Guizhou State-owned enterprises.'

So, put it simply. This a company completely controlled by the Guizhou Province Government.

But China Telecom, you can trade its stock in both Hong Kong and US:
https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/cha?ltr=1

I'm not sure why you're referencing China Telecom being a publicly traded company. That has nothing to do with anything. Government controlled is government controlled.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
And people on here complain about the lack of privacy they have using Googles services. Imagine living there.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Doubles the Price of RAM Upgrade on Entry-Level 13-Inch MacBook Pro

Saturday May 30, 2020 4:00 pm PDT by
Apple today doubled the price for upgrading the RAM on the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, with customers in the United States now being charged $200 to move from 8GB to 16GB compared to the previous $100 upgrade price. Similar increases are seen in other countries, such as moving from €125 to €250 in Germany and from £100 to £200 in the United Kingdom. Current pricing on RAM upgrade for ...

Tim Cook Addresses George Floyd's Death and Ensuing Protests and Riots as Apple Temporarily Closes Some U.S. Stores

Sunday May 31, 2020 8:04 pm PDT by
Amid unrest in numerous U.S. cities following last week's killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Apple CEO Tim Cook has shared an internal memo with employees (via Bloomberg) addressing the pain that many are feeling and urging others to commit "to creating a better, more just world for everyone." Cook also announced that Apple is making donations to several groups challenging...

Apple's First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display Will Become 'Obsolete' in 30 Days

Monday June 1, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
If you are still hanging on to a Mid 2012 model of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display, and require a new battery or other repairs, be sure to book an appointment with a service provider as soon as possible. In an internal memo today, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has indicated that this particular MacBook Pro model will be marked as "obsolete" worldwide on June 30, 2020, just over...

Top Stories: macOS 10.15.5, New Powerbeats Pro Colors, iPhone 12 and 13 Rumors, and More

Saturday May 30, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week saw an interesting mix of news and rumors on the Apple front, led by the release of macOS 10.15.5, which brings a new battery health feature to newer Mac notebooks, while we also saw the official announcement of new colors for the Powerbeats Pro earphones. On the rumor front, we heard a few tidbits about not just this year's iPhone 12 but also next year's iPhone, while we saw...

8 Mac Tips and Tricks You Might Not Know

Friday May 29, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
There are tons of hidden features and shortcuts for Macs that Apple has built into macOS over the years, ranging from shortcuts to keyboard commands to other little hacks to make Mac usage just a bit simpler. In our latest YouTube video, we highlighted several of these tips and tricks, and some of them might just be new to you. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Tr...

6.1-inch 'iPhone 12' Production to Begin in July Ahead of Other 2020 Models

Monday June 1, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Volume production of Apple's forthcoming 6.1-inch "iPhone 12" models will start in July-August ahead of the rest of the company's flagship iPhone lineup this year, according to a new report by DigiTimes. Apple is widely rumored to be launching four new ‌iPhone‌ models in the usual September or October timeframe, although supply constraints and delays in production ramp-up could cause a...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1 With Fixes for Recent 'unc0ver' Jailbreak Vulnerability

Monday June 1, 2020 9:58 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1, minor updates that come a little over a week after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.5, major updates that brought the Exposure Notification API, FaceTime changes, mask-related unlocking updates and more. The iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings >...

Apple Introducing New Internal USB-C Diagnostic Tool

Sunday May 31, 2020 7:26 pm PDT by
Apple is introducing a new internal USB-C Diagnostic Tool as a successor to its existing Serial Number Reader, which can be used to both collect a device's serial number directly from its logic board and test power on a device itself. Image via Giulio Zompetti With only a Lightning version previously available, images have surfaced of a new USB-C Diagnostic Tool (UDT) that appears to be known ...

Powerbeats Pro Debut in Four New Colors: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue

Friday May 29, 2020 10:00 am PDT by
Following a couple of leaks in recent weeks, Beats today is officially announcing four new colors for its Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue. The new earphones will go on sale June 9 and sell for the same $249.95 price as the existing color options. Aside from the colors, the new Powerbeats Pro models are otherwise identical to the...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 Supplemental Update With Security Fix

Monday June 1, 2020 10:56 am PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. The supplemental update comes a week after the release of the macOS Catalina 10.15.5 update. ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System...