In China, there are about 130 milion+ iPhone users and now their iCloud data is being stored by a Chinese government telecom company, China Telecom.
China Telecom is a state-owned carrier in China and now it has gain access from Guizhou-Cloud Big Data for the job of controlling and storing iCloud data of Chinese iPhone users.
This duty was previously given to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data, who got this job of handling iCloud business back in February of this year. Apple also started to store the encryption keys for iCloud Data of Chinese users with Ghuzho Cloud Big Data.
The users in China can either delete their accounts or select a different country as their host location so their iCloud data can be stored elsewhere. In other words, Chinese users may have to create new accounts and choose a different country to have their data hosted their if they are concerned about their privacy.
On this move, Apple said that:
“China recently enacted laws requiring that cloud services offered to their citizens be operated by Chinese companies and that Chinese customers’ data be stored in the country. While we advocated against iCloud being subject to these laws, we were ultimately unsuccessful. Our choice was to offer iCloud under the new laws or discontinue offering the service. We elected to continue offering iCloud as we felt that discontinuing the service would result in a bad user experience and less data security and privacy for our Chinese customers”
China Telecom will handle pictures, text messages, notes, and calendar data of the users. Although the data is end-to-end encrypted but considering the fact that the encryption keys are also stored in China, it is very much possible that the Chinese government could somehow gain access to the data of the users.
But we shouldn’t undermine Apple in this case, as Apple has said that only its employees have access to the keys and no one other than employees can access them.