Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

ICloud switch in China could impact worldwide users too

ICloud switch in China could impact worldwide users too

After talking to a number of users, we found that Apple has included iCloud accounts that were opened in the U.S., are paid for using U.S. dollars and/or are connected to U.S. -based App Store accounts in the data that will be handled by local partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) from February 28.

GCBD will be operating in Apple's $1 billion data center to be built in the southwest province.

Specifically Apple noted that "They include a clause that both Apple and the Chinese firm will have access to all data stored on iCloud".

Apple has confirmed plans to relocate mainland Chinese customers' iCloud data to China.

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Apple said it will communicate with its users over the course of the next seven weeks to make sure customers are well informed of the coming changes.

Apple claims its partnership with GCBD will allow it to "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".

Apple's iCloud data services on the Chinese mainland will be controlled by a state-owned enterprise based in Guizhou province from February, the USA company has announced. The news follows an announcement from a year ago about the impending change-over. "Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems", Apple said.

Apple's new terms for users on the Chinese mainland have been issued to comply with the country's new Cybersecurity Law, which began its first phase of implementation in 2017. Any iCloud accounts registered outside of China will not be affected. Amazon recently announced it was selling off the hardware infrastructure from its public cloud business to a Chinese partner called Sinnet to comply with the same laws.

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Like other provinces in China, Guizhou aims to tap into the technology sector's continued growth to help boost its economy.

GCBD will formally take over Chinese iCloud operations next month.

Apple sent out a message to customers in China this week, revealing terms and conditions of the changeover.

Others were not convinced Chinese iCloud users faced particular risks when it comes to government authorities accessing their information.

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It was reported by 9to5Mac at the time that "Apple and Tim Cook are again under fire for their relationship with the Chinese government".

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