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Apple to Store iCloud Cryptographic Keys in China, Raises More Privacy Concerns

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Last year, Apple announced that it would be moving Chinese customer iCloud operations to China. The move, which will take effect at the end of this month, was done in an effort to comply with local laws

According to a new report from Reuters, Apple is even moving iCloud customer keys into its servers located in China.

Currently, all cryptographic keys required to access iCloud data are stored in the United States, meaning that they are subject to U.S. law. However, once the iCloud keys move to servers in China, Chinese authorities will no longer have to go through the U.S. court system to obtain data from an iOS user. In a statement, several legal experts said:

“Now, according to Apple, for the first time, the company will store the keys for Chinese iCloud accounts in China itself. That means Chinese authorities will no longer have to use the U.S. courts to seek information on iCloud users and can instead use their own legal system to ask Apple to hand over iCloud data for Chinese users.”

The migration of data to Chinese servers has been met with concerns from privacy and human rights activists all around the world. Apple has responded to the matter saying that they tried to prevent iCloud from being subject to these laws in China, but they were ultimately unsuccessful.

The iCloud data migration for Chinese users is set to occur on February 28th, with no action needed from the user.

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  • Bill___A

    I can expect that a lot of places will be following in China’s footsteps.
    We should start a “pool” in which countries or entities are next…

  • Brenda

    British Columbia, should they tighten Freedom of Information policies. This would be a good thing. Why should our data, crypto keys, etc., be stored in the US? If I had a choice I’d want everything in a country with the strictest privacy laws. In the future, countries might compete for customers on this basis.

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