Apple opens first China data center to comply with country's cybersecurity rules

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2017
Apple on Wednesday announced the activation of its first data center in China, which is being operated in cooperation with a local internet firm to ensure compliance with the country's strict cybersecurity laws.


Racks of Apple's iCloud servers in Maiden, NC


The facility was set up in Guizhou with the help of Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co. Ltd., and represents a portion of Apple's planned $1 billion investment into the province, reports Reuters.

"The addition of this data center will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of our products and services while also complying with newly passed regulations," Apple said in a prepared statement. "These regulations require cloud services be operated by Chinese companies so we're partnering with GCBD to offer iCloud."

In June, China ratified new cybersecurity laws that mandate certain data protections for Chinese citizens. Importantly, foreign firms operating within China's borders must store sensitive data on domestic servers, and must likewise pass security reviews before transferring said data out of the country.

Apple was quick to note that its data protection protocols, viewed by some as the industry standard, will not be impacted by China's laws.

"No backdoors will be created into any of our systems," the company said. The comment seemingly addresses fears that Chinese government agencies might use the cybersecurity law as an invitation to engage in snooping activities.

Apple initially began storing encrypted iCloud data on in-country China Telecom servers in 2015. At the time, the company said the move to a localized provider would improve iCloud performance for users living on the Chinese mainland.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    I'm sure that they're hoping to prevent government snooping. But my guess is that the government will eventually just mandate that they give them access.
    planetary paulAviesheklostkiwi
  • Reply 2 of 15
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,128member
    Absolutely no way in hell would I ever trust anything coming out of the mouth of the Chinese government.  There will come a day when China will order Apple to divulge info for political gain.  It's not a matter of "if", but "when".

    China being part of the WTO seems to be quite good at basically ignoring the free market rules of the WTO.  Either boot them out, or maybe we too should demand that any business China does here in the U.S. also be done by US-based companies.  It's only fair right?
    Avieshekwatto_cobraSpamSandwichlkruppanton zuykovlostkiwi
  • Reply 3 of 15
    AvieshekAvieshek Posts: 94member
    Build one in India as well then. Better than that of Communist China.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    It is curious to me on the many difficulties that China brings to outsiders...I am unfamiliar with what if any difficulties Chinese firms have expanding in the US...Needs to be an even playing field if it isn't already.
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 5 of 15
    "No backdoors will be created into any of our systems," the company said. 
    Of course, but the wording is suspect. Like, "our systems."

    That doesn't cover the systems owned by their mandated local "partner." Using a house as a metaphor, Apple's bedroom has only one entrance but the homeowner has windows in every room of which none have locks.
    gatorguylostkiwi
  • Reply 6 of 15
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 557member
    At least the Chinese didn't elect our current president. 
    jony0lostkiwi
  • Reply 7 of 15
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,347member
    "...certain data protections for Chinese citizens."

    LOL! Those "data protections" may include having every single bit of data recorded for later use at your trial in China.

    Whenever I go to China I bring no computing or communication devices of any kind and I definitely do not log in to any accounts requiring passwords either.
    edited July 2017 lostkiwi
  • Reply 8 of 15
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,091member
    It is curious to me on the many difficulties that China brings to outsiders...I am unfamiliar with what if any difficulties Chinese firms have expanding in the US...Needs to be an even playing field if it isn't already.
    No way is it an even playing field yet you seem to be implying the U.S. is at fault. Our trade deficit with China is humongous and growing. Chinese manufacturers produce ripoffs of American designed electronics with impunity. Walk into any retail store in the U.S. and 90% of the stuff in that store was made in China.  Tensions are rising between China and the U.S. over North Korea and Apple could get caught in the middle of a pissing contest in which China has the larger bladder. China can hurt us economically more than we can hurt them. In China, if a million people lose their jobs it’s no big deal to the totalitarian government in power.
  • Reply 9 of 15
    Lkrupp said: "In China, if a million people lose their jobs it’s no big deal to the totalitarian government in power."

    On this point you are very mistaken.  The Chinese government fears unemployment and civil disorder more than anything else that could befall them.  That's why they subsidize every failing business in the country.  Chinese history is replete with popular uprisings, and the central government doesn't have the sort of absolute control over the country as most people in the west think.

    lostkiwi
  • Reply 10 of 15
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 357member
    I hope this helps with the frequent App Store timeouts in China. 
  • Reply 11 of 15
    securtissecurtis Posts: 86member
    No backdoors......Sure until the Chinese govt asks. Yet at the same time Apple obstructs law enforcement here when it comes to terrorism investigations. Must not be enough money to make when it comes to terrorism investigations. 
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 12 of 15
    spice-boy said:
    At least the Chinese didn't elect our current president. 
    Chinese didn't elect even their own "president".
    edited July 2017 king editor the gratejony0
  • Reply 13 of 15
    lkrupp said:
    It is curious to me on the many difficulties that China brings to outsiders...I am unfamiliar with what if any difficulties Chinese firms have expanding in the US...Needs to be an even playing field if it isn't already.
    China can hurt us economically more than we can hurt them
    How so? By simply pulling US companies from China, will hurt them a lot. By imposing trading limitations on whatever comes from China, will cut their supply to the money real fast. Combining all that with their incoming economic crisis, I would say that they have more levers to hurt the western world.

  • Reply 14 of 15
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,806member
    securtis said:
    No backdoors......Sure until the Chinese govt asks. Yet at the same time Apple obstructs law enforcement here when it comes to terrorism investigations. Must not be enough money to make when it comes to terrorism investigations. 
    Apple co-operated as much as they could, which is the law. What they didn't do was build a back door into their operating system and give a key to the government, which the government would promptly lose, exposing everyone to the people the government is supposedly from fighting. 
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 15 of 15
    colinngcolinng Posts: 67member
    lkrupp said:
    It is curious to me on the many difficulties that China brings to outsiders...I am unfamiliar with what if any difficulties Chinese firms have expanding in the US...Needs to be an even playing field if it isn't already.
    No way is it an even playing field yet you seem to be implying the U.S. is at fault. Our trade deficit with China is humongous and growing. Chinese manufacturers produce ripoffs of American designed electronics with impunity. Walk into any retail store in the U.S. and 90% of the stuff in that store was made in China.  Tensions are rising between China and the U.S. over North Korea and Apple could get caught in the middle of a pissing contest in which China has the larger bladder. China can hurt us economically more than we can hurt them. In China, if a million people lose their jobs it’s no big deal to the totalitarian government in power.
    And so it is China's fault that U.S. citizens either 1) are unwilling to pay a higher price for locally made products, or 2) not given local choices because local companies aren't willing to adopt technology and grow scale locally to reduce prices, or 3) being impoverished by unabated wealth transfer from the poor or middle-class to the rich, leaving them unable to afford higher quality goods, or 4) suffer from short-term thinking of buying many things instead of, say, 1 good item that lasts a lifetime? 

    For an example of 2, Mag-Lite comes to mind. They used to dominate the market of "flashlights that you can probably give to your children" but dragged their heels in integrated Cree or other high-powered LEDs, leaving a huge gap where tons of other companies made LED aluminum-bodied flashlights, some of which were as weatherproof as Mag. Now it's hard to see a Mag-Lite anywhere, except if you encounter Police all the time. 

    For an example of 3, look only to your Republican party stopping the Affordable Care Act, meaning that 700 billion dollars which would have gone to keeping the non-1%ers healthy. I now realize the truth in "Health is Wealth". Who rolled that back? The Chinese? 

    A bit sensational to blame a foreign country for a predicament caused by your own voting? Be it voting with your wallets (China didn't vote Wal*mart or Amazon to be ubiquitous), or with your ballots (China didn't vote away your ACA). 
    lostkiwi
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