Government firm to run Apple data centre in China

According to reports, Apple is about to launch a data centre with links to the government in China, making some experts concerned about the security of data transferred from Macs, iPads and iPhones to iCloud.

The data centre announced last week will be situated in the Guizhou province and managed by a firm which belongs to the Chinese government. This comes after a new law was approved which requires data firms to store data of Chinese customers on servers inside the country.

The new centre will store videos, pictures and documents uploaded to iCloud accounts by Apple users who live inside China. Data belonging to clients outside China will still be stored in the U.S. and later also Denmark.
Large tech firms such as IBM, Microsoft and Amazon have already taken similar steps to comply with the new Chinese legislation.

Apple, however, prides itself on data security. Last year, the firm was involved in a court fight with the American government over an order to force open the iPhone of a suspected shooter in a mass killing.
Some experts fear that a data centre inside China will make it easier for the government to get access to data via a court order or similar means.

Lawyer Nate Cardozo from digital rights group Electronic Frontier advised Apple users in China to turn off the iCloud feature on their devices and lock these devices with a secure password.

China currently accounts for nearly 20% of Apple’s total turnover and is the company’s third biggest market after North America and Europe. The firm said in a statement that “no backdoors will be created into any of our systems.” It will also hold the security keys that protect iCloud users’ data in the new centre.


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