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China Telecom Will Now Handle iCloud Data of Chinese Users

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Dec. 4 2020, Updated 10:52 a.m. ET

Apple’s iCloud data in China has migrated to China Telecom’s Tianyi servers

China Telecom, a company run by the Chinese government, announced on July 17 that it is now in charge of storing Chinese users’ iCloud data, according to Tech Crunch. Apple’s local partner, Guizhou-Cloud Big Data, has migrated Chinese iCloud data to China Telecom’s Tianyi servers.

Apple secures its iCloud data using encryption keys like other cloud providers. Earlier this year, the tech giant started storing encryption keys for iCloud data in the country with Guizhou Cloud Big Data to adhere to new Chinese legal requirements. This news is unlikely to allay the concerns of privacy activists who have questioned Apple’s decision to entrust Guizhou-Cloud Big Data with iCloud data.

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130 million Chinese iPhone users

Data stored on iCloud includes texts and emails, and more importantly, the encryption keys that protect the data. Chinese users who were uncomfortable with Guizhou-Cloud Big Data having access to their data were given the option to terminate their iCloud account. These users also have the option to select a country other than China for their account.

There are about 130 million iPhone users in the region. The Tech Crunch report notes that Apple (AAPL) has shifted iCloud data storage of Chinese iPhone users from its own US-based servers to Chinese servers, which has raised concerns that Chinese authorities will have easier access to sensitive information.

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