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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:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-apple-icloud-insigh...

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

https://mashable.com/article/china-government-apple-icloud-d...


https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208351

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:

https://www.apple.com/customer-letter/

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?




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