Apple: Chinese firm to operate China iCloud accounts

Apple's iCloud move to China raises concerns

Apple said it will transfer on February 28 the storage and handling of photos, documents, messages and video of its iCloud customers in China to local partner Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD), according to an emailed statement to affected users obtained by online news site 9to5Mac on Wednesday.

The company taking over the Chinese iCloud operations is Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD).

Apple started informing its Chinese iCloud users from Wednesday, with data transferred and uploaded to the new database automatically. 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.

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.

Guizhou is where Apple opened a $1bn (£738m) data centre previous year to meet the regulations.

Apple is not the only American tech company to comply with China's cybersecurity laws. For example, the company last July deleted VPN apps from the App Store that was helping netizens evade Chinese censorship, "because it includes content that is illegal in China".

According to a new report, the migration of iCloud accounts is also affecting a number of accounts that were opened in the US, are paid for with USA dollars, and are connected with US -based App Store accounts.

It added that Apple had "strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems". Those who aren't happy with the move at least have the option of closing their iCloud accounts.

You don't need to take any further action and can keep using iCloud in China. Articles stressed the growing supremacy of Chinese technologies, and news websites published articles telling users they might be forced to choose between Apple or Tencent.

ICloud users are anxious their photos, documents and other data could be handed over to authorities.

As The Diplomat reported earlier, this is not Apple's first time cooperating with the Chinese government.

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