Apple's China-based iCloud data centre raises privacy, human rights fears

News by Doug Olenick

Human rights activists are concerned that the Chinese government's regulation requiring that Apple host its citizen's iCloud accounts on servers in China could make it easier for that nation to track down dissenters.

Human rights activists are concerned that the Chinese government's regulation requiring that Apple host its citizen's iCloud accounts on servers in China could make it easier for that nation to track down dissenters.

To comply with this regulation Apple has opened a data centre for its Chinese account holders that uses the state-owned firm Guizhou - Cloud Big Data Industry Co, Reuters reported. Guizhou was created and funded by the local Guizhou provincial government.

Apple said that while it does not agree with the law it must comply, but it also does not mean the Chinese government has direct access to user data as Apple retains control over the encryption keys used to secure the data and it will only hand over use information when the Chinese government issues a valid request. Apple did admit the keys also will be stored in China.

Human rights activists said there are prior examples of Chinese authorities using stored data to find dissidents. Reuters quoted a case when Yahoo supplied information that led to the arrests of two democracy advocates.

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