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article imageApple to open data center in China to comply with government regs

By Karen Graham     Jul 13, 2017 in Technology
Beijing - Apple is building a new data center in China in order to comply with the country's new cyber-security laws passed last year that require companies to store customer data on servers located in China.
Apple's new data center will be located in China's Guizhou Province and is part of a $1.0 billion investment by Apple in the area. Bloomberg is reporting the new data center will be operated by Guizhou-Cloud Big Data, co-founded by the Guizhou government, in partnership with Apple.
Over the coming months, Apple will migrate mainland China user information, including photos, video, documents and other personal information uploaded to iCloud accounts by Apple customers, to the new center. Backups and other data stored by users outside mainland China will still be stored in data centers in the U.S., and eventually in Denmark, according to CTV News.
Apple s visualization of how iCloud will work
Apple's visualization of how iCloud will work
Courtesy Apple
Customer privacy at core of Apple deal
Apple is not the only major technology company rushing to comply with the Chinese government's new cyber-security law. Other companies, like Amazon, Microsoft and IBM have already made deals to run data centers within the country.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has made preserving customers' privacy a company cornerstone. That commitment was put to the test last year when the Cupertino, California company butted heads with the U.S. government over its refusal to open the iPhone of an alleged killer in a mass shooting.
To that end, Apple has sought to allay customers fears that their data will not be secure, issuing a statement that said: "As our customers know, Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems." Right now, Apple will be in sole possession of the encryption codes.
However, Nate Cardozo, a senior staff attorney specializing in privacy for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says Apple will find going up against the Chinese government more of a challenge if authorities want to sift through a client's iCloud account, even though, currently, the Chinese courts must funnel requests through the U.S. court system.
Ajay Arora, the CEO of data security specialist Vera, also is leery of the fact that Apple has to partner with a government-owned data company. He warns that this could increase the chances of authorities secretly snooping into customer's accounts. "It's like Apple is putting the fox in charge of the henhouse," Arora said.
More about Apple, Data center, China, New regulations, Cybersecurity