Apple has announced that the data belonging to China-based iCloud users which includes emails and text messages, is now being stored by a division of China Telecom, the state-owned telco.
Just last week it was revealed by China Telecom that the operator’s Tianyi cloud storage business unit has taken the reins for iCloud China. The company agreed to a deal with Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD), the original partner that Apple signed on with when it first migrated the data earlier this year.
However this move by Apple has raise concerns and criticism by many. Cloud users worry that this transition by Apple from its own U.S.-based servers to local servers on Chinese soil will grant the Chinese government easier access to sensitive information. Before a switch announced in January, all encryption keys for Chinese users were stored in the U.S., which meant authorities needed to go through the U.S. legal system to request access to information. Now the situation is based on Chinese courts and a gatekeeper that’s owned by the government.
In fact Apple had itself revealed that it was forced to go for such a transiiton in order to comply with Chinese authorities which raises further concerns.
If you are a Apple user in China and worried for the same reasons then the only option is that you can opt out of local data storage by selecting a country other than China for your iCloud account.
Another thing to note that as it isn’t clear whether making that change today would see information migrated or deleted from the Chinese server, starting over with a new account is probably the best option at this point.
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