Apple’s Bid For Chinese Acceptance Grows As It Moves Data Storage To Foreign Country


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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Apple is in the process of moving certain customers’ iCloud data to servers in China, meaning authorities there can now access key information on users without going through U.S. courts.

Apple’s new system — tentatively launching late February — will allow it to comply with China’s strict (arguably oppressive) laws in terms of data storage and the internet in general. A number of human rights activists and groups expressed consternation with such a change for Apple because Chinese officials could use that trove of information to monitor political dissidents, according to Reuters, or steal proprietary trade secrets.

China mandates that only Chinese companies can offer cloud services to Chinese people, requiring Apple to work with said domestic firms.

“While we advocated against iCloud being subject to these laws, we were ultimately unsuccessful,” Apple said in a statement to Reuters, while purporting a preference to create the new system for Chinese users because the alternative could conceivably mean less security for them. (RELATED: China Ranked Worst Abuser Of Internet Freedom Three Years In A Row)

The Chinese communist party members, through an oversight committee, are expected to preside over the new data center, according to Reuters’ further research.

The situation alludes to Apple’s direction when it comes to the dilemma of attempting to penetrate the Chinese market.

Tech companies in general, specifically U.S.-based Silicon Valley entities, are often forced to choose between cutting themselves off from China’s extremely large market or acquiescing to the government’s authoritarian stipulations and receiving subsequent backlash.

Arguing it is doing the right thing, Apple certainly appears to be choosing the latter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is co-chairing the China Development Forum in March, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Beijing conference marks his fifth appearance at the event that offers global business leaders an opportunity to impress or curry favor with top Chinese officials. There are many other instances of Apple either trying to woo or capitulate to China — e.g., removing The New York Times app from its Chinese app store as well as virtual private networks (VPNs), which is essential software for Chinese users who desire internet freedom and the ability to jump “the Great Firewall of China.”

It’s unclear whether or not these actions — including the new data center and compliance — will ultimately be good for Apple’s bottom line or Chinese people’s freedom. (RELATED: These Big Name Tech Companies Shout Progressivism While Selling Out To China)

Apple did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for further comment and details in time of publication.

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