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.

china icloud
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

pete2106 Avatar
53 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)
HiRez Avatar
53 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)
TimmeyCook Avatar
53 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)
canny Avatar
53 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)
69Mustang Avatar
53 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)
CarpalMac Avatar
53 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)

Popular Stories

airpods pro black background

AirPods Pro 2: Five New Features and Improvements to Expect

Sunday August 14, 2022 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect. In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year. H2 Chip ...
iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
10th Generation iPad Render

10th-Generation iPad With Major Design Changes Reportedly in Production Ahead of September Launch

Monday August 15, 2022 8:02 pm PDT by
Apple's rumored 10th-generation iPad is currently in production and will feature "major" design changes, according to a report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes. A mockup of the potential 10th-generation iPad design by Renders By Shailesh The report did not provide any specific details about the 10th-generation iPad's new design, but rumors suggest the device will feature a larger 10.5-inch...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday August 15, 2022 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming a week after Apple released the fifth developer betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. iOS 16 introduces a revamped Lock...
apple watch se

Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series 8: New Features to Expect If You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday August 15, 2022 2:44 am PDT by
The Apple Watch SE was announced in September 2020 and has been a popular Apple Watch model for customers looking for their first smartwatch or an affordable Apple Watch. Apple Watch SE customers may be wondering, however, what's in store for them with the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 and what new features they can expect. Continue reading to find out. Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series ...
odyssey ark 1

Samsung Launches $3,500 'Odyssey Ark' 55-Inch Curved Gaming Display

Monday August 15, 2022 7:15 am PDT by
Samsung today announced the launch of the Odyssey Ark, which the company says is the world's first 55-inch 4K curved display with a 165Hz refresh rate for improved gaming performance. Samsung first previewed the monitor at CES, but it is now available to order. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Priced at $3,500, the Samsung Odyssey Ark features mini-LED technology...
top stories 13aug2022

Top Stories: New Battery Percentage Icon in iOS 16, USB-C AirPods Rumor, and More

Saturday August 13, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
This week brought some shocking news for iOS 16 beta testers, with Apple bringing back the iPhone battery percentage to the status bar after a number of years. Other news and rumors this week included word that Apple has started recording portions of its media event planned for next month to introduce the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8, claims about iPhone 14 Pro pricing and Apple's...