Lo Shih-hung, writing for The Hong Kong Free Press:
The US-based global tech giant Apple Inc. is set to hand over the
operation of its iCloud data center in mainland China to a local
corporation called Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) by February 28,
2018. When this transition happens, the local company will become
responsible for handling the legal and financial relationship
between Apple and China’s iCloud users. After the transition takes
place, the role of Apple will restricted to an investment of US
one billion dollars, for the construction of a data center in
Guiyang, and for providing technical support to the center, in the
interest of preserving data security. […]
Apple Inc. has not explained the real issue, which is that a
state-owned big data company controlled by the Chinese government
will have access to all the data of its iCloud service users in
China. This will allow the capricious state apparatus to jump into
the cloud and look into the data of Apple’s Chinese users.
I wish that Apple would provide a definitive list of all types of data that goes through iCloud, showing what is end-to-end encrypted (iMessage and FaceTime?) and what is not. This whole situation reeks to high hell, but I don’t know what Apple could do other than pull out of the Chinese market entirely.
Update: This Apple support document comes pretty close to what I’m asking for.
★ Monday, 19 February 2018