Apple to store iCloud keys in China, sparking privacy fears

Apple to store iCloud keys in China, sparking privacy fears

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

Chinese authorities can now get a Chinese legal order and tell Apple to hand over user data. The likely hope is that any user who has sensitive information stored in their iCloud accounts would have already deleted them and automated connection with the online storage service would be severed.

This is because in a report from Reuters, Apple has confirmed that they are moving iCloud data to local servers that will be stored in China. The company fought to keep iCloud data in the United States, but was "ultimately unsuccessful", Apple said in a statement. That means Chinese authorities will no longer have to use the USA courts to seek information on iCloud users and can instead use their own legal system to ask Apple to hand over iCloud data for Chinese users, legal experts said.

There are only days until Apple begins storing the data of Chinese iCloud users within China, and concern is mounting about the human rights and privacy implications.

With China's somewhat checkered history with human rights, there are fears that the Chinese government could take advantage of the easier access it has to user data.

Apple says that it complies with laws in different countries around the world, and stresses that China has not been given backdoor access to data.

According to Apple, for the first time the company will store the keys for Chinese iCloud accounts in China itself. Some in China must be in shock that Apple has betrayed their trust. Apple is partnering with a Chinese company for its Chinese data center.

The official changeover date is February 28, and Apple has emailed its customers in China to advise them that they can opt out of iCloud and just store data locally if they want. This is different as the Federal Bureau of Investigation was asking for a backdoor to unlock the phone as the shooter didn't back up its phone to iCloud. It's a little disturbing that Apple will give up customer information to the Chinese Government on demand. It means that data is encrypted on Apple's servers, but Apple has a way to decrypt this data.

Apple said requests for data from the new Chinese datacenter will be reflected in its transparency reports and that it won't respond to "bulk" data requests. These committees have been pushing for more influence over decision making within foreign-invested companies in the past couple of years.

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