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Apple concedes to China again with iCloud user data now handled by state-owned operator

The data belonging to China-based iCloud users which includes emails and text messages, is now being stored by a division of China Telecom, the state-owned telco, reports TechCrunch.

The operator’s Tianyi cloud storage business unit has taken the reins for iCloud China, according to a WeChat post from China Telecom. Apple separately confirmed the change to TechCrunch.

China law requires companies to store customer data collected in the region locally. With the handover, photos, documents and messages uploaded by Apple users throughout the country will be stored at a data center in the southwest province of Guizhou .

Chinese iCloud customers were notified of the impending change in January and had the option to keep using the service or deactivate it by the transfer date, according to the The Wall Street Journal. Apple said that over the next seven weeks it will seek to make sure customers know about the coming changes, adding that the company “has strong data-privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems.”

Apple’s transition of the data from its own U.S.-based servers to local servers on Chinese soil has raised significant concern among observers who worry that the change will grant the Chinese government easier access to sensitive information. Apple itself has said it was compelled to make the move in order to comply with Chinese authorities. The tech giant has also bent to other Chinese laws and received criticism for removing hundreds of virtual private network apps from the App Store last year.    

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.