Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will hand its China cloud operations over to a state-owned partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co. on February 28, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Use of these services and all the data stored with iCloud - including photos, videos, documents and backups - will be subject to the Terms and Conditions of iCloud operated by GCBD", Apple said in a statement.
Government media have been exerting increased pressure on Apple to operate in line with China's strict media regulations, or else be forced out of the market.
The Chinese government changed the law previous year, requiring Apple and other companies offering cloud storage to use local companies to store the data.
"If you understand and agree, Apple and GCBD have the right to access your data stored on its servers". First spotted by 9to5Mac, this move doesn't seem all that surprising because it's been known since past year that Apple announced a partnership with a local firm, but we didn't know exactly when the iPhone maker was planning to move iCloud operations. Amazon recently announced it was selling off the hardware infrastructure from its public cloud business to a Chinese partner called Sinnet to comply with the same laws.
According to a new report, the migration of iCloud accounts is also affecting a number of accounts that were opened in the US, are paid for with USA dollars, and are connected with US -based App Store accounts.
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There appears to be a bit of confusion regarding who is and isn't going to be affected by Apple's migration of China-based iCloud accounts to a server operated by a Chinese company next month.
Nevertheless, some remain concerned that moving the operations locally will potentially make it easier for the government to eavesdrop on Apple users in the country.
However, Apple's decision has caused deep concerns among its customers in China about their data security, although Apple claimed that it has "strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems".
Others were not convinced Chinese iCloud users faced particular risks when it comes to government authorities accessing their information.
Apple has previously come under fire for complying with the Chinese Government's internet restrictions.