Apple is eyeing to tap the potential of the Chinese market. The prospects of stupendous growth in sales of iPhones and the related services including the iCloud storage are huge. Earlier this year, the Chinese government already informed Apple that the reigns of the user content must be held by Chinese companies for Apple to sell their services in China.
Accordingly, Apple negotiated a deal with the Chinese government-owned hosting company Guizhou-Cloud Big Data for providing the data center space. Apple confirmed this on a statement and added the company is leaving no stones un-turned in order to safeguard the security and privacy of important data.
A press release made by China Telecom, a state-controlled utility has raised the eyebrows of some people in the Chinese social media. According to the press release, China Telecom is now providing hosting space to incorporate the iCloud data for the time being, till the Guizhou-Cloud centers is built. Some of the social media enthusiasts are skeptic about this development; they think that the China Telecom utility might peek into their content.
A spokesperson from Apple in another statement has assured Fast Company that this hosting arrangement with the China Telecom is only temporary.
Initially, Apple was adamant and was not ready to give in to the Chinese government’s condition of the hosting requirement. However, their battle was in vain. Apple’s statement in the month of February says:
“We had the choice of offering our services as per the new laws of the Chinese government else we had to discontinue our services. We decided to abide by the laws and continue to offer the iCloud services, as withdrawing the services would result in a bad user experience. Additionally, this would mean a compromised data security and privacy for the Chinese customers.”
Again in the month of February, Amnesty International made a statement about the forfeiture of the iCloud data to Guizhou-Cloud. “Apple has handed over its iCloud services to a local Chinese company without the proper precautionary measures, now; the Chinese authorities have unbound access to all the iCloud data of the Apple’s Chinese customers.”
No wonder that the press release from China Telecom, by all means, was ill-timed. This has heated up the U.S. trade war with China. The present tariffs are already steep and there are sure indications that the tariffs are going to become even more exorbitant. The Donald Trump-led administration firmly believes that the Chinese government is constantly on the prowl to steal intellectual property from the U.S. companies, and thus they have imposed such high tariffs on Chinese goods.
The news which came out regarding China Telecom hosting the iCloud data and Apple having no control over the encryption keys for the affected content was found to be duplicitous. Apple made it clear on a statement that the arrangement with China Telecom is only a temporary arrangement and Apple has full control over the encryption keys.