Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It's interesting to see people give up Blizzard games, but still continue supporting companies like Apple that do far worse, like effectively giving the keys to iCloud to China. I think the conversation is great, and maybe now we'll actually reconsider what the TPP's goal was. But in the end, the people picked money first, so it shouldn't be a surprise when businesses do this as well.

I'm sad to see you downvoted. Its frustrating to me too when a company like Apple champions human rights in the USA then hands over the management of iCloud to China.


The juicy parts from the Legal Agreement for folks in China using iCloud:

> E. Access to Your Account and Content

> We reserve the right to take steps we believe are reasonably necessary or appropriate to enforce and/or verify compliance with any part of this Agreement. You acknowledge and agree that we may, without liability to you, access, use, preserve and/or disclose your Account information and Content to law enforcement authorities, government officials, and/or a third party, as we believe is reasonably necessary or appropriate, if legally required to do so or if we have a good faith belief that such access, use, disclosure, or preservation is reasonably necessary to: (a) comply with legal process or request; (b) enforce this Agreement, including investigation of any potential violation thereof; (c) detect, prevent or otherwise address security, fraud or technical issues; or (d) protect the rights, property or safety of GCBD, its users, Apple, a third party, or the public as required or permitted by applicable law. You understand and agree that Apple and GCBD will have access to all data that you store on this service, including the right to share, exchange and disclose all user data, including Content, to and between each other under applicable law.

mind blown meme levels of wtf.

They sleep at night with the sad belief that because they hand it over to the Chinese and don't do it themselves it's all fine...

GP getting downvoted, OP getting massively flagged; I guess this topic does not sufficiently gratify one's intellectual curiosity.

Can you explain why you think that complying with hard legal requirements that are a hard pre-requisite to doing business in an authoritarian country is worse than eroding freedom of speech in a non-authoritarian country?

Apple can chose to operate in China and backdoor iCloud there or they can chose not to operate in China at all. It's hard for me to see how either choice will substantially affect people's liberties in China, it's not like apple products are in any way vital to the surveillance state.

On the other hand more and more companies retaliating (out of a desire to curry economic favor with China) against people who exercise their freedom of speech in non-authoritarian countries would seem to affect people's liberties to me.

To me, this is why:


Tim Cook defied the US goverment over the exact same issue, and even said:

"Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us."

So to me, seeing him allow Chinese authorities access to that same data in China in the name of sales is incredibly hypocritical.

This way he gets to sell iPhones in China and the Chinese should obviously avoid using iCloud. If Apple was hiding this fact then I would have a problem with it. And if the device encryption isn’t compromised, then local data is probably safer on an iPhone than a lot of other devices.

There's a vast difference, namely a geographical one. Blizzard compromising the freedom of a non-Chinese resident because of something he did in a non-Chinese platform.

Apple is compromising the freedom of Chinese residents in China.

While I don't really support Apple's action it's easy to see why the first issue should be Blizzard's blame while the second issue is China's blame.

It's not surprising. Blitzchung has a name and a face, and he earned a thing, and he had it taken away from him directly, deliberately, and unjustly. That makes him a strong symbol to rally around and more likely to incite a social movement than a faceless corporate policy. At the same time, the atmosphere of distrust fostered by those insidious but not-directly-motivating policies is something of a precondition for those movements to form. I don't think it's as simple as "people care about thing X but not thing Y".


A Chinese company controls the icloud data. That's a backdoor if I've ever heard of one.


Related: what's the name for this tactic in debate? Where a dissenter insistently demand citations so that the conversation has to pause and then the dissenter nitpicks the citation instead of the argument, effectively derailing the conversation.

It's hard to see this account (jbang5) as anything but an internet troll who, if not literally on the payroll from the Chinese government, is still a useful idiot for their cause.

Yeah, it is an interesting tactic, but I've actually developed an effective counter to it.

What I usually do, to counter this trolling tactic, is to provide them with the source that they were asking for, and then I call them an idiot for not being aware of such an obvious fact.

Because, by definition, they are uninformed about the matter, as they didn't know about the source and had to ask for it. So I just make fun of them for not knowing about it, and rub it in their face when I provide the information that they asked for and didn't know about.

If you have to ask for sources on the matter, you are by definition "ignorant" on the matter.

The term is Sea Lioning, though that typically comes with a repetition of forced burden-of-proofs on the presenter.

Based off of this web comic: http://wondermark.com/c/2014-09-19-1062sea.png

Are you under the impression that China can't break encryption?

They don’t even need to- OP is massively mistaken. Apple gave China the encryption keys (and all other China-based iCloud infra) more than a year ago.


> Citation needed.


You could also look at some of the other links already posted to this thread in response to similar queries from you and others, like this one (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21207931) and this one (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21208376).

Are you under the impression that China can break encryption? Not saying that it's 100% impossible, but that one certainly needs a citation.

A link to a wikipedia article about the list of the worlds top supercomputers (the near majority of which are in China and presumably used by the CCP) doesn't mean that strong, well-applied crypto can be broken (I assume you're referring to brute force breaking). Mathematically, the computing power, energy and time necessary to break it are known in relation to all current computing power and, more importantly, methodology. Thus, taking just one of the Chinese supercomputers from the top500 list, the Tianhe-2, the calculation for that particular machine, working alone, to break just half the keyspace of AES 256 doesn't lend credibility to your claim:

Tianhe-2 Supercomputer @ 33.86 petaflops (quadrillion flops)

=33 860 000 000 000 000 keys per second (33.86 quadrilion)

3.386e16 * 31556952 seconds in a year 2255 possible keys

2^255 / 1.0685184e24

=1.0685184e24 keys per year (~1 septillion, 1 yottaflop)

=5.4183479e52 years

Needless to say, that's a long fucking time. Yes, cracking an access password would be much less time-consuming and so would finding and using non-brute force attack methods to guess or steal the key but for your basic claim that "Yes", China has cracked strong encryption, I just don't see where you get that idea from.

Source on Apple giving iCloud keys to China?

In early 2018, Apple forced their users to opt-in to migrating iCloud encryption keys and data to Chinese data centers:


Chinese government nationalized the data centers six months later, gaining access to all the encryption keys and user iCloud data at rest. Apple complied:



They allow a Chinese company to manage iCloud data.

They are legally required to do this. The alternative was completely disabling iCloud in China. This only applies to Chinese users of course.

You say this as though many companies are not already practicing that alternative.

Google for one.

Although I think they have regretted that decision.

Google did not have as much skin in the game as Apple does. If Apple defied the CCP, they could lose their factories overnight. To say this would cause immense damage is an understatement. They would have no product to sell within weeks and they would have no means to produce anything. It would be catastrophic.

Google, on the other hand, walked away from China and it's business as usual for them.

At the time of walking away they had 33% of the Chinese search market - so it is hard to see how they did not have skin in the game - to lose all access to the largest market in the world forever. And not only for search, but also youtube, android and so many other things.

How so? Trade war affects you the least (and your competition the most) if you're not even in the country.

Take Android for example: there are multiple competing app stores in China, many very shady by our standards.

This has also created a market for very cheap uncertified Android phones+ accompanying malware.

Android is open source so of course the lowest tier phone OEMs are going to fork/use it. I was in Shanghai a while and could buy counterfeit iphones too despite Apple being there.

The alternative benefits nobody.

Google famously pulled out of China rather than censor, but that was just a PR move because they already were failing in China. I'd argue that censorship is an altogether different situation anyway.

Apple removing iCloud from China helps literally nobody. Chinese users don't have an alternative that isn't subject to the same Chinese laws. Any user that wishes to resort to less-than-legal alternatives can do so whether or not Apple provides iCloud services.

Ultimately this boils down to "should the Chinese court systems be able to decide when to hand data over to the Chinese government", because that's the effect of using a Chinese partner company to manage the iCloud data. For everyone else it's "should the US court systems be able to decide" instead, which honestly isn't all that much better.

Just once I wish someone would put forward an actual argument as to why Apple disabling iCloud in China benefits literally anybody.

And? Companies here are legally required to respect NDAs and hand over large swaths of personal information. "bUT iT'S LEgAL" is not a valid excuse for anything, at any given time.

They were legally subpoenaed in the San Bernardino case too:


Tim Cook even said: "Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk."

And yet, here he is in China compromising personal data, all to make a buck.

Google Drive is disabled in China

What happens when you travel to China? Is it documented by Apple?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact