Apple to transfer Chinese iCloud operations to state-run company

Apple iCloud

Apple to transfer Chinese iCloud operations to state-run company

28, the US tech giant will delegate operation of its iCloud service to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry, an entity owned by Guizhou Province, the People's Daily newspaper reported.

Ltd (GCBD) - which is owned by the Guizhou provincial government in southern China - from February 28.

"If you understand and agree, Apple and GCBD have the right to access your data stored on its servers".

"Because of our commitment to transparency, there will be a series of customer communications over the course of the next seven weeks to make sure customers are well informed of the coming changes", Apple said.

The partnership "will allow us 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", Apple said in a statement.

That means that all data - including photos, videos, documents, and other personal information - uploaded by Apple customers in China to their iCloud accounts will be stored in GCBD's database from then on. Amazon recently announced it was selling off the hardware infrastructure from its public cloud business to a Chinese partner called Sinnet to comply with the same laws. GCBD runs the center, with Apple providing technology support.

According to a new report, the migration of iCloud accounts is also affecting a number of accounts that were opened in the US, are paid for with USA dollars, and are connected with US -based App Store accounts.

"For the past few years, Guizhou has put on an annual International Big Data Industry Expo to highlight its new role as a big data hub in China", said Jabez Tan, research director at Toronto-based Structure Research, in an interview.

That followed Apple's announcement in July previous year of a partnership with GCBD to establish its first data centre in China, which forms part of the United States technology company's US$1 billion investment programme in Guizhou. Those who aren't happy with the move at least have the option of closing their iCloud accounts.

GCBD takes over as the operator of iCloud in China next month. Apple says that it "has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be crated into any of our systems".

While this isn't the first time Apple has made accommodations to work with the Chinese government, despite accusations of surveillance, it is certainly going to be troubling to some users - particularly because of the dilemmas it throws up going forward.

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