In July 2018, when Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) agreed to a deal with state-owned telco China Telecom to move users’ iCloud data belonging to Apple’s China-based users to the latter’s servers, the shift raised concerns that it could make user data vulnerable to state surveillance.
Now, according to a deep-dive report from The New York Times, Apple’s privacy and security concessions have “made it nearly impossible for the company to stop the Chinese government from gaining access to the emails, photos, documents, contacts and locations of millions of Chinese residents.”
The revelations stand in stark contrast to Apple’s commitment to privacy, while also highlighting a pattern of conceding to the demands of the Chinese government in order to continue its operations in the country.
Apple, in 2018, announced iCloud data of users in mainland China would move to a new data center in Guizhou province as part of a partnership with GCBD. The transition was necessitated to abide by a 2017 regulation that required all “personal information and important data” collected on Chinese users “be stored in the territory.”
“iCloud in China mainland is operated by GCBD (AIPO Cloud (Guizhou)…