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Apple now storing local China iCloud data in China Telecom datacenters

post #1 of 38
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The official website of the city of Fuzhou, in the People's Republic of China, on Thursday posted a now-retracted statement saying that Apple had completed the transfer of iCloud data to a Jiangxi Province datacenter owned by China Telecom. Apple on Friday then confirmed that it is in fact using China Telecom data centers to store iCloud user data locally.

The announcement, since deleted
The original announcement, since deleted


According to the statement, Apple began the project -- which was completed on Aug. 8 -- some 15 months ago. There is no word on why the bulletin, first spotted by iCloud.net, was withdrawn.

In a statement to AppleInsider provided Friday, Apple confirmed the earlier leak, saying that the localized servers will improve speed and reliability for its customers.

"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 for our customers in mainland China. All data stored with our providers is encrypted, China Telecom does not have access to the content."

Apple's siting of data within mainland Chinese borders may come as a surprise to some, given the company's firm stance on privacy and security. Apple attempted to quash those concerns by revealing that the encryption keys for user data would be stored offshore and would not be available to China Telecom.


Apple Maiden NC Data Center


Racks of Apple's iCloud servers in Maiden, NC


The Chinese central government is notoriously invasive, most recently handing down a ruling forcing users of instant messaging services like WeChat to register with their real names and making it illegal to share political information without a license.

"Some people are damaging other people's rights and interests and public security in the name of freedom of speech," one spokesman for China's State Internet Information Office said of the new rules. "Cyberspace cannot become a space full of disorder and hostility," said another. "No country in the world allows dissemination of information of rumors, violence, cheating, sex and terrorism."

On Thursday, AppleInsider attempted to verify that iCloud data was staying within China, but was unable to do so. Analysis of iCloud data transfer from Shanghai saw packets flowing to Singapore, where supposed iCloud partners Microsoft and Amazon operate cloud computing clusters.

Apple had previously been linked to the construction of a new datacenter in Hong Kong -- a special administrative region of China that operates under a western-style legal system -- but the company is not known to have struck such a deal. Google moved its Chinese operations to the former British colony after clashing with mainland censors.
post #2 of 38
Not to sure what to make of this story. Could be nothing much more than just making access more efficient locally, as Apple says.
post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Not to sure what to make of this story. Could be nothing much more than just making access more efficient locally, as Apple says.


I am sure that is a large part of it for Apple.

 

Although, I am sure that the NSA is not happy. However, I am sure that the Chinese equivalent to the NSA is very happy.

post #4 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mknopp View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Not to sure what to make of this story. Could be nothing much more than just making access more efficient locally, as Apple says.


I am sure that is a large part of it for Apple.

Although, I am sure that the NSA is not happy. However, I am sure that the Chinese equivalent to the NSA is very happy.

If, as recently happened, a US judge can demand that Microsoft turn over the data in its servers in Ireland, and that judgment holds, it won't be long before China can ask for, and be granted access to, data from US servers. 1hmm.gif
post #5 of 38

"No country in the world allows dissemination of information of rumors, violence, cheating, sex and terrorism."

 

Yea they do, it's the grand old US of A! Just look at all the rumors about Apple products, all the violent and sexual games and movies. As for cheating, I'd say 90% of analysts are involved in a combination of rumors and cheating. I won't touch the terrorism part but China is involved in that as much as the US is. 

post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Not to sure what to make of this story. Could be nothing much more than just making access more efficient locally, as Apple says.

...and so there could be more to this? I would have expected some surprise on your part that Apple did not use Hong Kong servers as some other Western companies do to avoid Chinese censors and citizen tracking. Uploading iCloud data to Chinese controlled servers invites suspicions of Apple's motivation does it not? If the story gets more widespread reporting I'd expect some Apple damage control.
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post #7 of 38
If you want to business in any country, you play by their rules. This is a non-story.

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post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


If, as recently happened, a US judge can demand that Microsoft turn over the data in its servers in Ireland, and that judgment holds, it won't be long before China can ask for, and be granted access to, data from US servers. 1hmm.gif

If the data is owned by Chinese companies, perhaps.  Do you have much data held with Chinese companies?

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post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram
If, as recently happened, a US judge can demand that Microsoft turn over the data in its servers in Ireland, and that judgment holds, it won't be long before China can ask for, and be granted access to, data from US servers. 1hmm.gif

Yes, also this may keep China's attention away from the USA iCloud data base.

post #10 of 38

The data gets encrypted AFTER it arrives at Apple servers. What is stopping China from wiretapping the last hop in and first hop out?

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post #11 of 38
I think this is about China's distrust of NSA -- it wants to be able to block spying by the NSA on the nation's leaders (both political and corporate/financial) without forcing them to do without iPhones.
post #12 of 38
My concern is more with how is the energy generated that powers the data center? China is a notorious user of coal as a power source. Does Apple have a deal that these servers are powered by clean energy? If not, then they need to rethink this.
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe View Post

My concern is more with how is the energy generated that powers the data center? China is a notorious user of coal as a power source. Does Apple have a deal that these servers are powered by clean energy? If not, then they need to rethink this.

They could do what they initially did in North Carolina. Buy clean energy from a different source and sell it to the power company. Even if the energy used in the data center is dirty, they have a net lower carbon footprint.

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post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

...and so there could be more to this? I would have expected some surprise on your part that Apple did not use Hong Kong servers as some other Western companies do to avoid Chinese censors and citizen tracking. Uploading iCloud data to Chinese controlled servers invites suspicions of Apple's motivation does it not? If the story gets more widespread reporting I'd expect some Apple damage control.

 

There could be, but I see nothing in Apple's response that leads me to suspect some nefarious intent at this stage. Moreover, moving something to Hongkong is a fig-leaf, since China de facto controls HK. If/when the chips are down, it does not matter much whether it's in mainland or HK.

post #15 of 38

(Deleted; mstone clarified the question).


Edited by anantksundaram - 8/15/14 at 10:40am
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe View Post

My concern is more with how is the energy generated that powers the data center? China is a notorious user of coal as a power source. Does Apple have a deal that these servers are powered by clean energy? If not, then they need to rethink this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

They could do what they initially did in North Carolina. Buy clean energy from a different source and sell it to the power company. Even if the energy used in the data center is dirty, they have a net lower carbon footprint.
If the clean energy source were built in China by Apple and owned by Apple, I'd go along. Buying power is onoe thing. Financing the generation is a whole different issue. The first simply supports clean energy projects. The second actually creates them in the first place.
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

If the data is owned by Chinese companies, perhaps.  Do you have much data held with Chinese companies?

 

If I was Chinese -- which I am not -- I guess I would? Don't understand the question.

I think he may be referring to a scenario where a Chinese court could force a Chinese based company to turn over data they have stored in a United States data center.

 

Another possible case could be a US court demanding Apple's data stored in China based on the precedent of the MS Ireland court ruling.

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post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

There could be, but I see nothing in Apple's response that leads me to suspect some nefarious intent at this stage.
Of course not. No company would want to admit to anything "nefarious" much less announce it.
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post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

(Deleted; mstone clarified the question).

I'm just wondering what the concern is.  It sounded like you were worried about the Chinese government getting their hands on your data, but I don't see how that's at all likely unless you're storing your data on Chinese services.

 

The point I was alluding to was that I don't think there's any foreseeable threat of the Chinese government being able to demand that an American company give up data on American citizens.  Or maybe they'll demand it, but there's no legal recourse for it.

 

 

EDIT: Oh, lol.  Didn't even realised the post had changed between me clicking quote and posting my reply.


Edited by Crowley - 8/15/14 at 10:48am

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post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

There could be, but I see nothing in Apple's response that leads me to suspect some nefarious intent at this stage.
Of course not. No company would want to admit to anything "nefarious" much less announce it.

 

Please try not to be pedantic, and try to follow. No one suggested that a "company would admit to anything nefarious." That would be childish. I said -- if you'd care to read and process again -- that there was nothing in what Apple said, given the story and its context, that I interpret as signaling something nefarious on their part and at this stage.

 

Moreover, you brought up HK as though that was a big deal. It amounts to a b-s hill of beans. 

post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

I'm just wondering what the concern is.  It sounded like you were worried about the Chinese government getting their hands on your data, but I don't see how that's at all likely unless you're storing your data on Chinese services.

 

The point I was alluding to was that I don't think there's any foreseeable threat of the Chinese government being able to demand that an American company give up data on American citizens.  Or maybe they'll demand it, but there's no legal recourse for it.

 

I don't have any personal concerns about data on me. My point was that, in a world in which the courts in a country can demand that home country corporations' and citizens' data in foreign servers be turned over, it does not matter much if Apple stores data on Chinese citizens in servers in China or elsewhere.

post #22 of 38

Oh right, fair enough, I misread the intent of your post.  Apologies.

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post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


If, as recently happened, a US judge can demand that Microsoft turn over the data in its servers in Ireland, and that judgment holds, it won't be long before China can ask for, and be granted access to, (Chinese) data from US servers. 1hmm.gif

Two completely different circumstances.  Your China suggestion is never gonna happen.

 

(EDIT) I misunderstood the intent of your post also.  I added a word to make it more clear.  Still may not happen, though.

 

Thompson

post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


Moreover, you brought up HK as though that was a big deal. It amounts to a b-s hill of beans. 
BS?? Hardly. 1rolleyes.gif

Don't you remember Google redirecting search requests in China to uncensored Hong Kong servers a few years back? Microsoft and Amazon both do the same to stay outside Chinese control as HongKong is NOT within the China Firewall and has it's own distinct laws and judiiciary. I understand your need to minimize the additional privacy and legal protections afforded by locating in HK rather than "mainland China" but claiming they are one and the same as far as Chinese control is not being very helpful or honest.

"Unlike in mainland China, websites are not censored by the Chinese government’s Golden Shield, referred to by critics as the Great Firewall of China, or #gfw. Twitter and Facebook are freely accessible in Hong Kong, without the need for proxy servers as they are in mainland China.

In mainland China, the only three mobile operators are China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. They all report directly to China’s State Council, China’s cabinet, and win their approval for major business decisions. This applies even to the introduction of new mobile services, making them political, not business decisions. In contrast, Hong Kong mobile operators are unregulated about when they can introduce new services for consumers. While mainland Chinese operators are held back waiting for political decisions, Hong Kong operators just charge ahead in the competition for consumers.

Because there is no Internet censorship, the services which are popular in the west are also popular in Hong Kong, such as Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter and Google. Out of deference to Beijing, this is not widely publicized, though it is well-known among Hong Kong locals and industry insiders.

For western companies in China, doing business is very hard. Most recently, Google shut down its Chinese search engine and redirected all China search traffic to… Hong Kong. Earlier casualties included Yahoo! and eBay. Again, deference to Beijing keeps Hong Kong investment officials from talking too loudly about this issue."
http://www.forbes.com/sites/china/2010/05/11/why-hong-kong-is-chinas-new-tech-hub/
Edited by Gatorguy - 8/15/14 at 2:10pm
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post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 
 

They could do what they initially did in North Carolina. Buy clean energy from a different source and sell it to the power company. Even if the energy used in the data center is dirty, they have a net lower carbon footprint.

 

Perhaps that explains your lack of mental capacity. If I was your brother, I probably would have repeatedly smashed the side of your head with a cricket bat years ago. Is that what happened?

 

They could even use the hot air emanating from your mouth; problem is, they probably wouldn't regard it as clean energy.

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post #26 of 38
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Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

Oh right, fair enough, I misread the intent of your post.  Apologies.

 

You've learnt to apologise? Well done!

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post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


Moreover, you brought up HK as though that was a big deal. It amounts to a b-s hill of beans. 
BS?? Hardly. 1rolleyes.gif

Don't you remember Google redirecting search requests in China to uncensored Hong Kong servers a few years back? Microsoft and Amazon both do the same to stay outside Chinese control as HongKong is NOT within the China Firewall and has it's own distinct laws and judiiciary. I understand your need to minimize the additional privacy and legal protections afforded by locating in HK rather than "mainland China" but claiming they are one and the same as far as Chinese control is not being very helpful or honest.

"Unlike in mainland China, websites are not censored by the Chinese government’s Golden Shield, referred to by critics as the Great Firewall of China, or #gfw. Twitter and Facebook are freely accessible in Hong Kong, without the need for proxy servers as they are in mainland China.

Etc Etc

You really should keep up with the news. HK gets the freedoms that China allows it to have. If it doesn't rock the boat. http://online.wsj.com/articles/china-reminds-hong-kong-of-its-control-1402411342

If you'd like the full text of the 'White Paper' (you can get the gist of it pretty quickly) it's here, as an English translation from the South China Morning Post: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1529167/full-text-practice-one-country-two-systems-policy-hong-kong-special

If/when the chips are down, China can and will assert complete control over HK. To assume or think anything else is simply naive.
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

You really should keep up with the news. HK gets the freedoms that China allows it to have. If it doesn't rock the boat. http://online.wsj.com/articles/china-reminds-hong-kong-of-its-control-1402411342

If you'd like the full text of the 'White Paper' (you can get the gist of it pretty quickly) it's here, as an English translation from the South China Morning Post: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1529167/full-text-practice-one-country-two-systems-policy-hong-kong-special

If/when the chips are down, China can and will assert complete control over HK. To assume or think anything else is simply naive.

If/when is not today. Maybe things will change in Hong Kong in the future and maybe they won't. What is 100% certain is that internet and cloud users today do not have the same expectation of privacy for data stored on Chinese mainland servers compared to Hong Kong based. Agreed?

While others have chosen to avoid Chinese controls as much as possible while still doing business in the region Apple chose to deal directly with a Chinese government controlled telecom for storage of Chinese users data, information and media. Doesn't seem like something you would expect from Apple and opens them to questions about their motivation. If nothing else I would think you'd see it as unusual. Not saying anything is out of sorts because no one knows but we do know how appearances play. Had this been MS or Samsung or Google or Amazon I personally think you'd be less accepting of similar company statements explaining it away.
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post #29 of 38
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Originally Posted by StanTheMan View Post

I think this is about China's distrust of NSA -- it wants to be able to block spying by the NSA on the nation's leaders (both political and corporate/financial) without forcing them to do without iPhones.

or providing a nexus so they can 'subpoena' the information they desire.

 

This is less about the NSA, and more about China wanting to keep it's dissident's messages/notes, etc within their borders.

post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post
 

 

You've learnt to apologise? Well done!

 

I always admit it when I find that I am at fault, and I'll apologise when I think it's required.  When have I ever failed to do that before?

 

A specific example please, not a TS style "oh all the time, too many for me to possibly identify one"

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post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

 

You've learnt to apologise? Well done!

I always admit it when I find that I am at fault, and I'll apologise when I think it's required.  When have I ever failed to do that before?


AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Thanks for the first joke of the day.
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post #32 of 38
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Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Thanks for the first joke of the day.

There's good threads to comment on rather than trying to get a emotional reaction from others, the very definition of trolling. For instance what do you think of Apple's move of iCloud data to Chinese controlled servers. So far the only thing you've contributed to the thread is thinly-veiled insults to both MStone and Crowley.
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post #33 of 38
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
I always admit it when I find that I am at fault, and I'll apologise when I think it's required.  When have I ever failed to do that before?

 

You haven’t. He’s right, Ben.

post #34 of 38
Shrewd move by Apple, When in Rome do what the Chinese do
post #35 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chez Whitey View Post

Shrewd move by Apple, When in Rome do what the Chinese do
Go around in big groups, photographing everything? 1wink.gif
post #36 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by singularity View Post

Go around in big groups, photographing everything? 1wink.gif

Abide & prosper
post #37 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Thanks for the first joke of the day.
Congratulations on living up to my low expectations, troll.

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post #38 of 38
Unsurprisingly Chinese Apple users, in concert with the recent roll-out of the new iPhone models there, are reportedly being targeted by the Chinese government in a classic man-in-the-middle ploy to access sign-in credentials.

https://en.greatfire.org/blog/2014/oct/china-collecting-apple-icloud-data-attack-coincides-launch-new-iphone#9to5mac
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