Apple clarifies only iCloud users in China will see data migration to Chinese server

Posted:
in iCloud edited January 12
Earlier this week, Apple notified users living in China that their data would be moved to a Chinese company's servers in compliance with local laws. There was some confusion, however, as a number of customers who currently live outside of China received the same message.


Source: TechCrunch


Apple on Friday clarified the situation with a follow-up email that notes only iCloud users living within China, or whose Apple ID country is China, will see their iCloud data migrated to servers operated by Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co. Ltd., reports TechCrunch.

The iCloud data handover is in compliance with Chinese internet regulations covering cloud services owned by foreign corporations.
You recently received an email from us notifying you about an upcoming change for iCloud services in China. This email was sent in error. No changes have been made to your iCloud account.

We are very sorry that you received this email. This email was intended only for customers whose Apple ID country is China. A very small number of our customers whose Apple ID country is not China also received this email by mistake.
On Wednesday, Apple told Chinese Apple ID holders that it will pass control of its iCloud services to GCBD in late February. TechCrunch later discovered a number of U.S. iCloud users received the email meant for Chinese customers.

How the mixup occurred is unknown, though Apple did confirm the validity of the follow-up email.

The data migration and similar actions by other companies have riled privacy advocates who cite China's strict internet censorship practices as reason for concern. Apple, however, claims its partnership with GCBD, which dates back to last year, grants customers strong data privacy and security protections. Importantly, the company promises no backdoors will be created by government agencies or other entities.

Those who do not wish to have their iCloud account data moved to GCBD have until the end of February to terminate their account.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    I urge folks in China who are reading this to delete iCloud account & use local encrypted iTunes backup.
    anton zuykovlostkiwikudu
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Hello Mickey; Does this includes US citizens living in China? What about other non Chinese citizens living in China? The article is kinda vague. From the article it seems like any Apple ID user in China is affected. Thank you.
    anantksundaramlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    It’s about National Security of the whole world outside mainland China, Mr Tim Cook!
    If you’re a university student and your uni friends come from Australia, US, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Singapore ... and mainland China. All of you are using iPhone and thus all of you have an Apple ID. All your messages will be stored in mainland China and be monitored be the Chinese Government because some of the mainland Chinese students have their Apple IDs and iCloud data are stored in China? 
    Tim, so least you need to let us identify whose Apple IDs are registered in the mainland China please.


  • Reply 4 of 12
    I urge folks in China who are reading this to delete iCloud account & use local encrypted iTunes backup.
    I would urge folks in China to definitely not do what you're suggesting.  If they follow your advice the only thing they'd be doing is putting a target on their back that says, "Hey, look at me.  I have an iPhone in China and for some odd reason I have no iCloud account attached to it.  There's absolutely no need for you to come see what I'm doing."  Because if they come looking, and if you're an odd duck they will, you're probably going to want to wish you didn't have to explain an encrypted backup.  China is not the US or Europe.

    A better suggestion would be for those people to manage what's synced to their iCloud accounts.  
    kudubshankjony0
  • Reply 5 of 12
    ivanh said:
    It’s about National Security of the whole world outside mainland China, Mr Tim Cook!
    If you’re a university student and your uni friends come from Australia, US, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Singapore ... and mainland China. All of you are using iPhone and thus all of you have an Apple ID. All your messages will be stored in mainland China and be monitored be the Chinese Government because some of the mainland Chinese students have their Apple IDs and iCloud data are stored in China? 
    Tim, so least you need to let us identify whose Apple IDs are registered in the mainland China please.


    Much like scholars in the past who wrote letters to Soviet scientists, you should probably excercise discretion when communicating via a method that is likely to be surveilled. This isn’t new problem. Apple can not influence Chinese policy anymore than the USPS could influential the USSR’s. 
  • Reply 6 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,653member
    The ideal solution would be for Apple to simply leave China, both sales and manufacturing. But that can’t happen and don’t try to compare this to Google pulling out who, by the way, is looking for ways to get back in. Apple is behind the eight ball. The U.S. government would love to do this here if they could get away with it, don’t kid yourself.
    mike54bshankjony0
  • Reply 7 of 12
    ivanh said:
    It’s about National Security of the whole world outside mainland China, Mr Tim Cook!
    If you’re a university student and your uni friends come from Australia, US, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Singapore ... and mainland China. All of you are using iPhone and thus all of you have an Apple ID. All your messages will be stored in mainland China and be monitored be the Chinese Government because some of the mainland Chinese students have their Apple IDs and iCloud data are stored in China? 
    Tim, so least you need to let us identify whose Apple IDs are registered in the mainland China please.


    Tough. All communications to and from (and within) China are monitored, or should be assumed to be so. This is the risk one runs when communicating with someone from that country. Apple did not make those rules, it’s merely complying with the law. 

    Btw, all communication from/to outside the US are logged somewhere in some US national security server too (from what we’re told, not the content, only the metadata; but who knows). These are the times we live in. Move along...
    mike541STnTENDERBITSracerhomie3jony0
  • Reply 8 of 12
    lkrupp said:
    The ideal solution would be for Apple to simply leave China, both sales and manufacturing. But that can’t happen and don’t try to compare this to Google pulling out who, by the way, is looking for ways to get back in. Apple is behind the eight ball. The U.S. government would love to do this here if they could get away with it, don’t kid yourself.
    Your post is funny.  You try defend Apple and throw shade at Google and the govt at the same time and do a pretty bad job at both.  Why would Apple leaving China be an ideal solution?  Ideal for whom?  It certainly wouldn't be an ideal solution for Apple.  It's not that it can't happen, it's that it won't happen.  There's a huge difference.  It won't happen because no one at Apple is that stupid.  Why in the world couldn't this be compared to Google?  This is the perfect comparison.  Google didn't compromise, China told them to kick rocks.  Apple chose to compromise and benefited greatly.  Google wanting back into China doesn't change anything.  You seem to be willing to pull anyone in to deflect from Apple.  What the US government would or wouldn't do is immaterial.  They didn't and don't do it.  

    Apple made decisions that benefited Apple.  Just because those decisions involve perceived compromises doesn't make them bad.  It just makes them nuanced.  Pretty sure Apple realizes they can't fight and win every battle.  They have to pick and choose.  This is not a battle they can win.  They save those bullets for another day.  All of that happens with nary a mention of Google or the US Gov't as some type of deflective excuse.  
  • Reply 9 of 12
    I always get a kick out of Tim Cook espousing the sanctity of Apple security and thumbing his nose at the U.S. government when asked for cooperation.  Meanwhile, he does BIG BUSINESS in China where it is well documented there is no such thing as privacy from the government.  Not to mention persecution of all kinds of human rights violations including sexual orientation/preferences.

    Hey, I have no objections with Mr. Cook running the business how he sees fit.  Nor for exercising his free speech rights.  Perhaps he should tone it down a bit when it comes to criticizing the U.S. Government.

    I wonder how long China would be one of his top 3 markets if he were to call out the Chinese government for the same things he calls out the U.S. government.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Not as if the NSA doesn't have backdoors to various server farms and services there in the US. We now demand an Australian iCloud server farm so that our Australian govt can monitor our data too... LOL
  • Reply 11 of 12
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,196member
    I urge folks in China who are reading this to delete iCloud account & use local encrypted iTunes backup.
    You can do the latter without the former, which I recommend for pretty much everyone.

    Getting rid of iCloud would also mean getting rid of email, iMessages, Find My iPhone, Calander syncing, and a whole slew of other useful features. I don’t recommend that.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    Ciprol said:
    Not as if the NSA doesn't have backdoors to various server farms and services there in the US. We now demand an Australian iCloud server farm so that our Australian govt can monitor our data too... LO
    You mean seperate and apart from the Meltdown and Spectre hardware features that are supposedly defeated at the OS level?
    edited January 13
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