Human rights groups and privacy advocates have become worried by the latest move of Apple in China.
The iCloud accounts that are registered in mainland China are being moved from the company servers to state run Chinese servers by Apple together with the digital keys that open them.
“The changes being made to iCloud are the latest indication that China’s repressive legal environment is making it difficult for Apple to uphold its commitments to user privacy and security,” Amnesty International warned in a statement.
This move is reflective of the cessions that some of the major companies are being forced to concede so that they can do business China – arguably the largest market I n the world with the largest population in the world. for Apple, China is a crucial manufacturing base and a hige market for its products.
Ronald Deibert, director of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, and organization that is engaged in the study of the intersection of digital policy and human rights, said that an international legal process that involved complying with U.S. privacy and user rights laws would have had to be followed earlier in case Chinese authorities wanted to gain access to Apple’s user data.
“They will no longer have to do so if iCloud and cryptographic keys are located in China’s jurisdiction,” he said.
Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) is being handed over v Apple’s Chinese iCloud operations. The government of Guizhou province owns this Chinese firm. There were no comments from GCBD.
This move would however only impact the accounts that are registered in mainland China.
Chinese authorities had recently made changes to its regulations on cloud services and Apple’s move is being viewed as a strategy to comply with the latest regulations. All companies operational in China has to mandatorily keep all the data in China under the new cybersecurity law t hat was enacted in June 2017 in China. Protection of Chinese citizens’ privacy and preventing crime and terrorism are the aims of this new legislation, Beijing has said.
The Chinese cyber security laws mandates companies operational in China “to turn over user data to state authorities on demand — Apple now included”, said Deibert.
Operation of their could services in China through partnership with local companies have also been done by some of the other large U.S. companies such as Amazon.com and Microsoft.
Apple had tried to protest unsuccessfully against the including the iCloud under the new law, the company said.
“Our choice was to offer iCloud under the new laws or discontinue offering the service,” an Apple spokesman told the media.
(Adapted from Money.cnn.com)