Apple on Friday announced that the personal iCloud data of users in China will be encrypted and stored in a Jiangxi Province datacenter owned by China Telecom.
Apple confirmed that the Chinese government-owned China Telecom will not have access to the secure data. Apple had started to expand its data storage facilities internationally after huge facilities were opened in east and west coast in the US recently. The company also mentioned its plans to build a data center in the Netherlands to serve the users in Europe.
Apple said in a statement:
“Apple takes user security and privacy very seriously. We have added China Telecom to our list of data center providers to increase bandwidth and improve performance of our customers in mainland China.”
Chinese government website confirmed that the company had started to store iCloud data of users from Aug 8 on China Telecom servers. Sandy Shen, an analyst at the research firm Gartner stated that Apple move to store user data in China could bring in trust among Chinese users as privacy concerns are raised by the government. Chinese users will also benefit from the speed of iCloud services once the transition is competing.
China Telecom mentioned that Apple had selected its cloud service after 15 months of testing and evaluation. The deal was finalized during the time when the government raised concerns about Apple’s location feature. Apple failed in securing a deal with a Hong-Kong-based data center earlier. China is a growing market for Apple though the occasional privacy concerns and politics between the countries affects the growth in the country.
Earlier in July, Apple Inc’s iPhone has been slammed as a threat to national security by the Chinese state media CCTV. The phone’s ability to track and record a user’s location is the reason for this accusation. Chinese broadcaster CCTV believes that the phone’s “Frequent Locations” feature can be misused in such a way that it threatens the national security. Following the accusations, Apple refuted accusations from China’s broadcaster that reported that the location-tracking features of the company posed a security risk to users. It stated:
“Apple does not have access to Frequent Locations or the Location cache of any users’ iPhone at any time. We encrypt the cache by the users passcode and it is protected by access by any app,” said Apple in its website.
Recently, in August, there have been reports surfaced over the web regarding the ban of Apple products on the Chinese Government procurement list, including iPhone, iPad and MacBooks. But later China refuted and said: “Ban on Apple products in the govt procurement list is greatly exaggerated.”
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