China had passed a law last month according to which foreign data storage firms operating in China are not allowed to store users' data outside China. While some firms like Amazon, Microsoft and IBM already have data centers in China, many firms believe this is unfair. They feel data will be at risk if stored in this manner. Additionally, they feel the vagueness of the new statue could lead to compliance issues.
Chinese authorities claim that the law was introduced to safeguard the country from terrorism and cyber attacks, but some people believe that it has been brought in to increase government surveillance.
In order to conform to the new regulation, Apple Inc. recently announced that it has decided to set up a data center in the Guizhou province of China. They believe this will increase the speed and reliability of their services. The Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co Ltd (GCBD) will be managing iCloud as only Chinese firms are allowed to operate cloud services.
Though Apple has taken this step to adhere to the new law, skepticism has arisen about the safety of the data which will be stored in iCloud by Chinese customers once GCBD starts running it. Apple has assured that their security systems are strong and it is impossible to penetrate them. The company added that since it won't give the encryption keys to anyone, GCBD won't be able to access any of the information stored in iCloud.
Apple is well-known for its commitment towards privacy. It found itself in the midst of a controversy some time ago when it refused to unlock iPhones for FBI.
China is an important market for Apple as 20 percent of Apple's revenue is from China. Many experts feel that Apple is making compromises in China as it doesn't want to lose out on a major chunk of its profits by offending the Chinese government. Therefore, iCloud users of China are unsure whether their photos, videos, and documents will still be secret once GCBD starts handling iCloud or if the government will have complete access to their data.
Apple has announced that it is going to open a data center in China to comply with new cyber security regulation
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