Feeds

Apple slings fanbois' data at Chinese servers in China Telecom deal

Mandarins won't get encryption keys, Cook & Co promises ... scout's honor

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

In an effort to woo buyers in China, Apple has inked a deal to store Chinese customer data in Chinese servers for the first time.

Plenty of technology firms are leery about storing sensitive information in China (although given the NSA's reach, US servers aren't exactly private) but Apple has hired China Telecom to use the telco's servers to store iCloud data for Chinese customers.

"Apple takes user security and privacy very seriously," Cupertino told Reuters. "We have added China Telecom to our list of data center providers to increase bandwidth and improve performance for our customers in mainland china. All data stored with our providers is encrypted. China Telecom does not have access to the content."

That sounds pretty definite, but if the Chinese government decides it wants data that's stored on Apple's servers then it's possible the firm will hand it over. Yahoo! attracted considerable ire when it handed over data on Chinese customers who then spent years in Middle Kingdom prisons for criticizing the state, as did Microsoft for censoring blogs – and Apple's users might run into similar problems.

"If they're making out that the data is protected and secure that's a little disingenuous because if they want to operate a business here, that'd have to comply with demands from the authorities," said Jeremy Goldkorn, director of research firm Danwei.

"On the other hand if they don't store Chinese user data on a Chinese server they're basically risking a crackdown from the authorities."

Apple is trying to boost its position in China, with some success, but it's still well behind the local competition when it comes to handset sales. Xiaomi rules the roost in the China smartphone sector at the moment, and all of the firms in the top ten are Chinese except Samsung and Apple.

While iPhones have been selling reasonably well in China, they are expensive compared to many homegrown handsets. Storing iCloud data locally may speed things up for customers and make iPhones more attractive to buyers, provided they can afford the handsets.

Chinese consumers are used to their government having access to their data, so Apple's move won’t cause much concern in the Middle Kingdom. But the fallout in the West if Apple does hand over user data to the authorities could be severe. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
No biggie: EMC's XtremIO firmware upgrade 'will wipe data'
But it'll have no impact and will be seamless, we're told
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.