Apple Turns Over China iCloud Services to State-Owned Data Firm

Apple Turns Over China iCloud Services to State-Owned Data Firm

Pablo Tucker
January 11, 2018

Apple said the "partnership" with GCBD would 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". First spotted by 9to5Mac, this move doesn't seem all that surprising because it's been known since past year that Apple announced a partnership with a local firm, but we didn't know exactly when the iPhone maker was planning to move iCloud operations. GCBD runs the center, with Apple providing technology support.

Those terms note that both Apple and GCBD will have access to customer data: "You understand and agree that Apple and GCBD will have access to all data that you store on this service, including the right to share, exchange and disclose all user data, including Content, to and between each other under applicable law".

In that agreement, AWS explained to The Register, Beijing Sinnet took over the physical infrastructure of AWS's bit barns, but not the IP: "AWS continues to own the intellectual property for AWS Services worldwide".

The Chinese government changed the law past year, requiring Apple and other companies offering cloud storage to use local companies to store the data.

Apple Inc. announced Wednesday that it will hand over the operations of its iCloud data services for Chinese mainland users to a Guizhou-based company to comply China's cloud-computing rules, starting next month. The users' data will be transferred to Chinese servers as soon as the users accept the new terms and conditions.

"Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems", the company said in a statement Wednesday.

If you aren't happy with the move, you are given a choice to entirely close your iCloud account before the February 28th deadline.

In August 2017, Apple were heavily criticised by Beijing for threatening to remove applications by leading Chinese tech company Tencent, including the WhatsApp-like mobile messenger WeChat.

Microsoft and Amazon also have data centers in China which will have to be in compliance as well.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook defended the action at the time, saying he would "rather not" be doing it, adding he hoped the restrictions would be "lessened" over time.

Other reports by iNewsToday