Apple announced that, starting on February 28, it will hand over its iCloud service for Chinese customers to a Chinese company. The company taking over the service is one that the Guizhou Provincial government owns called Guizhou Cloud Big Data (GCBD). GCBD will be responsible for the iCloud operations serving customers in China and also responsible for legal and financial relations with those customers.
This has triggered many concerns over data privacy. Chinese companies are known to share customer data with the government, either voluntarily or involuntarily.
Apple has given China-based users the option of deleting their data, but no option to store their data any other place.
The company TechCrunch found that, when the iCloud setting is set to China, the accounts to be handed over will also include “iCloud accounts that were opened in the U.S., are paid for using U.S. dollars and/or are connected to U.S.-based App Store accounts.”
“One user did find an apparent way to opt-out. It requires such users to switch their iCloud account back to China, then sign out of all devices. They then switch their phone and iCloud settings to the U.S. Then, upon signing back into iCloud, their account will (supposedly) not be part of the migration.”
1. People’s Daily, January 10, 2018
2. TechCruch.com, January 11, 2018
Apple’s China iCloud data migration sweeps up international user accounts