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Apple starts storing user data on Chinese servers despite security concerns

But experts are sceptical about the bold move
Fri Aug 15 2014, 15:04
Apple logo on New York store

APPLE HAS BEGUN storing user data on servers in China, despite the country's claims that the firm is "a threat to national security".

This is the first time that Apple has stored data on Chinese servers, with the firm touting the move as part of an effort to improve the speed and reliability of its iCloud service. This comes despite other US technology firms such as Google and Microsoft having avoided storing user data in China due to censorship and privacy concerns.

In a statement, Apple said that data will be stored on China Telecom servers, noting that data on the servers will not be made available to the mobile operator but will merely be kept offshore.

An Apple spokesperson said in a statement, "Apple takes user security and privacy very seriously.

"We have added China Telecom to our list of data centre 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."

While Apple seems quite pleased with itself, experts have said that Apple is unlikely to be able to withhold user data in the event of a government request.

"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," Jeremy Goldkorn, director of, a research firm focused on Chinese media, internet and consumers, told Reuters.

"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's move into China comes just weeks after the country blasted the iPhone as a threat to national security, due to its location tracking capability. µ


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