Apple could be the next target of China's push to get more data stored locally

Posted:
in General Discussion
New Chinese regulations that would require Apple to store more user data locally in the country will soon put the company in a tough spot as it navigates competing interests.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


A pair of new laws aimed at data security and protection could force Apple and other foreign firms to store more data within China -- and prevent their transfer outside the country's borders. One of the laws went into effect in September, while another takes effect on Nov. 1.

The laws could put Apple in a bind, since legal experts and analysts told The Information that the company could be the next to face pressure from Chinese authorities.

China is a critical market for Apple, and the company has made security and privacy concessions there in the past. But if Apple complies with the new regulations, it's likely to face increased criticism from both U.S. lawmakers and human rights activists.

On the other hand, if Apple chooses to now comply with the laws, Beijing could make it more difficult for the company to operate them -- including by potentially shutting down its services in the country.

Chinese officials say they're concerned that Chinese citizens' data stored outside of the country could be access by U.S. intelligence services. However, user data stored within China can be easily surveilled by state authorities.

Apple already stores iCloud content on local servers in China. However, the new results could force Apple to begin keeping sensitive information such as iPhone usage statistics and communication logs within China's borders. Analysts believe the information could be used to track or identify political dissidents and activists in China.

The new rules, thus far, have forced Tesla to begin storing driver data on servers in China. They've also contributed to LinkedIn essentially shutting down operating in the country, citing "a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements."

Apple is the last major U.S. technology company operating in China that has yet to face pressure under the new laws. It's a major target for Chinese officials, since data suggest that one in every four mobile devices in China is an iPhone.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    Perhaps we should all try and celebrate On Global Encryption Day, Let's Stand Up for Privacy and Security | Electronic Frontier Foundation

    So it reads above that Apple has access to our "iPhone usage statistics and communication logs" ?
  • Reply 2 of 58
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    williamlondontmay
  • Reply 3 of 58
    Pardon my ignorance… don't EU also ask to store European citizen's data to be stored in Europe?

    When Apple released CSAM it was a clear notice that it would be able to allow iCloud encryption —without incurring in storing CSAM images—.
    Apple could be thinking in allow user's controlled encryption in all their servers.
  • Reply 4 of 58
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,843member
    Perhaps we should all try and celebrate On Global Encryption Day, Let's Stand Up for Privacy and Security | Electronic Frontier Foundation

    So it reads above that Apple has access to our "iPhone usage statistics and communication logs" ?

    When setting up an Apple device, the user is prompted whether they want to share such information with Apple and/or developers. The user in control of this and can change it at any time. I've always opted to share such info, as it's sent anonymously.

  • Reply 5 of 58
    I'm not surprised and I don't think it's an unreasonable ask whether they're communist or not. The US has strict export control laws too and they apply to data, not to mention other laws from the Patriot Acts. Apple is an international company, the manufacturing, component resourcing, raw materials, and sales happen in someone else's country.
    avon b7muthuk_vanalingamGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 6 of 58
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,627member
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    Get a clue. In this case their ‘customers’ are Chinese users, who already have no privacy. So what’s your problem? There is no poison pill for Apple to swallow. If you think there is an ethical lapse and hypocrisy here then stop doing business with the company to protest. But I bet you won’t do that, will you.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 58
    What is wrong for Chinese government trying to protect data? Don't you know many western nations regard China as an adversary? 
  • Reply 8 of 58
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    How about Ford? Samsung? How about Microsoft? Are you recommending that companies ignore local laws? I'm all for a single international government, but something tells me you just want things different ways on different days. A multinational company has no ability to ignore local/national laws. Just as a British company doing business in the US has to follow US Laws.

    I don't have an answer here except that in the future this will be a huge issue. Cars will have nav and communication, as will TV's and glasses and coats. 'Data' and all it has grown to encapsulate will only get to be a bigger part of every companies business. So do US companies just ignore the rest of the world when they hit a national law that goes against, well, what exactly? My idea of 'freedom'? Texas' idea of freedom? It's a much more complicated and nuanced issue I think. US businesses wouldn't do well if we decide to ignore every country that has onerous laws. I think everyone happily sells in Saudi Arabia, not even close to being a bastion of freedom. Again, I don't have the answer but it's silly to put this down to 'profit or capitulation' as I'm not even sure exactly what laws in other countries you don't like.
    Alex_VGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 9 of 58
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    How about Ford? Samsung? How about Microsoft? Are you recommending that companies ignore local laws? I'm all for a single international government, but something tells me you just want things different ways on different days. A multinational company has no ability to ignore local/national laws. Just as a British company doing business in the US has to follow US Laws.

    I don't have an answer here except that in the future this will be a huge issue. Cars will have nav and communication, as will TV's and glasses and coats. 'Data' and all it has grown to encapsulate will only get to be a bigger part of every companies business. So do US companies just ignore the rest of the world when they hit a national law that goes against, well, what exactly? My idea of 'freedom'? Texas' idea of freedom? It's a much more complicated and nuanced issue I think. US businesses wouldn't do well if we decide to ignore every country that has onerous laws. I think everyone happily sells in Saudi Arabia, not even close to being a bastion of freedom. Again, I don't have the answer but it's silly to put this down to 'profit or capitulation' as I'm not even sure exactly what laws in other countries you don't like.
    High tech companies will create a way to solve this problem. The truth of the fact all the high tech products we enjoy today are created by high tech companies. Not by any nation. Not by any human rightist group. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 10 of 58
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,048member
    The best thing Apple can do is what they have already been doing, which is to increase security for each iPhone user.  Each user should have the ability to choose whether they wish to share personal data or not.  If someone is fearful of government intrusion and snooping they can shut off services which track user data and movement.  Shutting off those services will limit convenience and capability for each user.  But Apple can ensure that each user has a choice, regardless of country.  I don’t see how Chinese authorities could object to that.  But who knows.

    Apple can continue to move more production out of mainland China to reduce the leverage (implied threat of sanctions) Chinese authorities may have over Apple’s decision making process.  No one can predict with any certainty how the Chinese Communist Party will act in the future. But Apple needs to be prepared for the worst.  It’s called risk reduction.
    edited October 21
  • Reply 11 of 58
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,808member
    It will end up being that Apple will support user privacy in those countries that respect user privacy.
    It will do what the government asks them to do in those countries that don’t.
    Apple can only do what the government of the country they are operating in allows.
    No corporation is going to fall on their sword for a principle.
    That's the way it is.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 12 of 58
    lkrupp said:
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    Get a clue. In this case their ‘customers’ are Chinese users, who already have no privacy. So what’s your problem? There is no poison pill for Apple to swallow. If you think there is an ethical lapse and hypocrisy here then stop doing business with the company to protest. But I bet you won’t do that, will you.
    Why do you sound so angry? Why make it even easier for the government to spy on it’s citizens? I feel very conflicted over what Apple should do, but these laws are very bad for the Chinese people.
  • Reply 13 of 58
    lkrupp said:
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    Get a clue. In this case their ‘customers’ are Chinese users, who already have no privacy. So what’s your problem? There is no poison pill for Apple to swallow. If you think there is an ethical lapse and hypocrisy here then stop doing business with the company to protest. But I bet you won’t do that, will you.
    Why do you sound so angry? Why make it even easier for the government to spy on it’s citizens? I feel very conflicted over what Apple should do, but these laws are very bad for the Chinese people.
    Give me a break! FBI does not spy on US citizens? 
    JWSCGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 14 of 58
    I wonder what Apple would do if the Chinese government started to demand records of American citizens who have been in contact with Chinese citizens through their Apple devices.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 15 of 58
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,079member
    lkrupp said:
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    Get a clue. In this case their ‘customers’ are Chinese users, who already have no privacy. So what’s your problem? There is no poison pill for Apple to swallow. If you think there is an ethical lapse and hypocrisy here then stop doing business with the company to protest. But I bet you won’t do that, will you.
    Why do you sound so angry? Why make it even easier for the government to spy on it’s citizens? I feel very conflicted over what Apple should do, but these laws are very bad for the Chinese people.
    Give me a break! FBI does not spy on US citizens? 
    Why do you need a break?  I doubt anyone here is a fan of the FBI doing any spying either.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 58
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    How about Ford? Samsung? How about Microsoft? Are you recommending that companies ignore local laws? I'm all for a single international government, but something tells me you just want things different ways on different days. A multinational company has no ability to ignore local/national laws. Just as a British company doing business in the US has to follow US Laws.

    I don't have an answer here except that in the future this will be a huge issue. Cars will have nav and communication, as will TV's and glasses and coats. 'Data' and all it has grown to encapsulate will only get to be a bigger part of every companies business. So do US companies just ignore the rest of the world when they hit a national law that goes against, well, what exactly? My idea of 'freedom'? Texas' idea of freedom? It's a much more complicated and nuanced issue I think. US businesses wouldn't do well if we decide to ignore every country that has onerous laws. I think everyone happily sells in Saudi Arabia, not even close to being a bastion of freedom. Again, I don't have the answer but it's silly to put this down to 'profit or capitulation' as I'm not even sure exactly what laws in other countries you don't like.
    I’m not sure why you are equating British, EU, US, or other Western countries’ laws with China. And this has nothing to do with China being a communist country. It is a surveillance state that allows zero political dissent, and the people have no say in how they are governed. Why encourage this? 
    tylersdadrobaba
  • Reply 17 of 58
    crowley said:
    lkrupp said:
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    Get a clue. In this case their ‘customers’ are Chinese users, who already have no privacy. So what’s your problem? There is no poison pill for Apple to swallow. If you think there is an ethical lapse and hypocrisy here then stop doing business with the company to protest. But I bet you won’t do that, will you.
    Why do you sound so angry? Why make it even easier for the government to spy on it’s citizens? I feel very conflicted over what Apple should do, but these laws are very bad for the Chinese people.
    Give me a break! FBI does not spy on US citizens? 
    Why do you need a break?  I doubt anyone here is a fan of the FBI doing any spying either.
    US Congress and the free world do not try to stop FBI. The question is spying wrong? You try to dodge the fundamental question by focusing only on China. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 18 of 58
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    How about Ford? Samsung? How about Microsoft? Are you recommending that companies ignore local laws? I'm all for a single international government, but something tells me you just want things different ways on different days. A multinational company has no ability to ignore local/national laws. Just as a British company doing business in the US has to follow US Laws.

    I don't have an answer here except that in the future this will be a huge issue. Cars will have nav and communication, as will TV's and glasses and coats. 'Data' and all it has grown to encapsulate will only get to be a bigger part of every companies business. So do US companies just ignore the rest of the world when they hit a national law that goes against, well, what exactly? My idea of 'freedom'? Texas' idea of freedom? It's a much more complicated and nuanced issue I think. US businesses wouldn't do well if we decide to ignore every country that has onerous laws. I think everyone happily sells in Saudi Arabia, not even close to being a bastion of freedom. Again, I don't have the answer but it's silly to put this down to 'profit or capitulation' as I'm not even sure exactly what laws in other countries you don't like.
    I’m not sure why you are equating British, EU, US, or other Western countries’ laws with China. And this has nothing to do with China being a communist country. It is a surveillance state that allows zero political dissent, and the people have no say in how they are governed. Why encourage this? 
    US has highest crime rate in the world, much higher than China. This is the tradeoff. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 19 of 58
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,079member
    crowley said:
    lkrupp said:
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    Get a clue. In this case their ‘customers’ are Chinese users, who already have no privacy. So what’s your problem? There is no poison pill for Apple to swallow. If you think there is an ethical lapse and hypocrisy here then stop doing business with the company to protest. But I bet you won’t do that, will you.
    Why do you sound so angry? Why make it even easier for the government to spy on it’s citizens? I feel very conflicted over what Apple should do, but these laws are very bad for the Chinese people.
    Give me a break! FBI does not spy on US citizens? 
    Why do you need a break?  I doubt anyone here is a fan of the FBI doing any spying either.
    US Congress and the free world do not try to stop FBI. The question is spying wrong? You try to dodge the fundamental question by focusing only on China. 
    I didn't dodge anything.  I don't like spying, and the FBI, CIA et al can fuck off.  Likewise China.

    But Apple don't aid the FBI and CIA in routine surveillance of anyone and everyone; they only respond to court ordered warrants.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 58
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,079member
    tylersdad said:
    Which poison pill will Apple swallow? Will they aid the Chinese authoritarian regime and protect their profits from China? Or will they protect their customers from the authoritarian regime? 

    I have a feeling it's the first option that Apple will choose. 
    How about Ford? Samsung? How about Microsoft? Are you recommending that companies ignore local laws? I'm all for a single international government, but something tells me you just want things different ways on different days. A multinational company has no ability to ignore local/national laws. Just as a British company doing business in the US has to follow US Laws.

    I don't have an answer here except that in the future this will be a huge issue. Cars will have nav and communication, as will TV's and glasses and coats. 'Data' and all it has grown to encapsulate will only get to be a bigger part of every companies business. So do US companies just ignore the rest of the world when they hit a national law that goes against, well, what exactly? My idea of 'freedom'? Texas' idea of freedom? It's a much more complicated and nuanced issue I think. US businesses wouldn't do well if we decide to ignore every country that has onerous laws. I think everyone happily sells in Saudi Arabia, not even close to being a bastion of freedom. Again, I don't have the answer but it's silly to put this down to 'profit or capitulation' as I'm not even sure exactly what laws in other countries you don't like.
    I’m not sure why you are equating British, EU, US, or other Western countries’ laws with China. And this has nothing to do with China being a communist country. It is a surveillance state that allows zero political dissent, and the people have no say in how they are governed. Why encourage this? 
    US has highest crime rate in the world, much higher than China. This is the tradeoff. 
    Stop pulling "facts" out of your ass: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/crime-rate-by-country
    JWSC
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