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Apple Begins Storing Chinese User Data On Servers In China

timothy posted about a month ago | from the eat-local-and-store-data-there-too dept.

China 92

An anonymous reader writes Reuters reported on Friday that Apple "has begun keeping the personal data of some Chinese users on servers in mainland China." Apple has claimed that the move is meant "to improve the speed and reliability of its iCloud service", but given China's track record with censorship and privacy, the explanation rings hollow for some skeptics. Nevertheless, Apple assures its Chinese users that their personal data on China Telecom is encrypted and that the encryption keys will be stored offshore. Only time will tell if Apple will be able to resist Chinese government requests to access its China-based servers.

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What's the problem... (5, Insightful)

Rick in China (2934527) | about a month ago | (#47683689)

They're storing mainland customer data on mainland servers. I don't see the problem with this - if the Chinese gov't wants data, they have SO many means at their disposal to capture it regardless of whether it's stored on a domestic server, or external. This is a good move, imo, as storing data in any country other than China would mean heavy latency passing through the GFW and having it likely captured elsewhere anyways.

Re:What's the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683725)

" if the Chinese gov't wants data, they have SO many means at their disposal to capture it regardless of whether it's stored on a domestic server, or external"

Well, no. Not with the bredth and speed that having complete local access would afford. It's not close.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Rick in China (2934527) | about a month ago | (#47683733)

Um?

You clearly don't know much about the country. There are only several providers of internet services, how do you think people's personal information gets from one place to another? Magic? Or through China Telecom?

Re:What's the problem... (1, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47683767)

Apple's statement that its move is to "improve speed and reliability" is clearly bullshit, in light of the recent Chinese government demand that such data be stored in-country. So much is clear and obvious.

However, Apple should be given huge kudos if their claim that they store it encrypted, and that the encryption keys are offshore, is correct. If so, it's a brilliant move. Eat that, China!

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a month ago | (#47683819)

However, Apple should be given huge kudos if their claim that they store it encrypted, and that the encryption keys are offshore, is correct. If so, it's a brilliant move. Eat that, China!

No, that's just marketing. They can just order Apple to decrypt the data since Apple has the keys. Their location doesn't matter since the data is in the country already.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47683859)

No, that's just marketing. They can just order Apple to decrypt the data since Apple has the keys. Their location doesn't matter since the data is in the country already.

What a silly-assed thing to say. Sure, they could order it. And Apple could completely ignore them. Big fucking deal.

Guess what? Apple has been gradually been bringing its manufacturing back home. If China pressed them, they'd just do it quicker.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a month ago | (#47683877)

its manufacturing

This is about end-users, not manufacturing. Even if Apple managed to completely move all of their manufacturing to the U.S. they wouldn't want to lose all the possible end-users of their products in China.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47683915)

This is about end-users, not manufacturing. Even if Apple managed to completely move all of their manufacturing to the U.S. they wouldn't want to lose all the possible end-users of their products in China.

Yes it is, and that's precisely where you're getting it wrong.

"End users" in China don't want the government to control their information. This is the 21st Century. They're not fucking stupid.

Re:What's the problem... (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a month ago | (#47683941)

"End users" in China don't want the government to control their information. This is the 21st Century. They're not fucking stupid.

And? The government doesn't need their fucking permission. Do you think the NSA goes around and asks people for permission to mine their data? Why do you think Chinese government would need to do that? As long as Apple wants to conduct business on Chinese soil they gotta play by whatever rules the Chinese lay on them, including giving access to data, and what the end-users want is going to be totally irrelevant.

Re:What's the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47684291)

Do you think the NSA goes around and asks people for permission

Someone decided it was okay. That person should be held accountable. Preferably by a stout tree and a rope.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47686323)

You still aren't getting it. The whole point here is that unlike Chinese citizens, Apple does not have to ask for permission to store its encryption keys offshore. It can store them anywhere it damned well pleases. And if the Chinese government doesn't like that, well, they can just close down those companies that work for Apple. Which... coincidence? I think not... are some of the largest, most successful businesses in China.

Stupid fucking bitch. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47687283)

Oh that's cute. You think Apple will be able to both do business with mainland China and simultaneously _refuse_ to turn over any information they request.

You know who's so much bigger than Apple that it's scary? Google. Google had to agree to self-censor search results in China just to be _allowed_ to do business in the country.

You're so painfully ignorant that I can only assume you've left your tampon in too long and some sort of chemicals have crossed the blood-empty-skull barrier to turn your thoughts into fucking mush. Go back to Pinterest bitch.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a month ago | (#47687389)

You still aren't getting it. The whole point here is that unlike Chinese citizens, Apple does not have to ask for permission to store its encryption keys offshore. It can store them anywhere it damned well pleases. And if the Chinese government doesn't like that, well, they can just close down those companies that work for Apple. Which... coincidence? I think not... are some of the largest, most successful businesses in China.

Oh, please, don't be stupid. I never said Apple needs to ask for permission to store keys anywhere, I said the government can come and tell Apple to give access to the data. As for the companies: why would the Chinese shut down other companies when they can shut down Apple themselves? Apple can't conduct business on the Chinese soil unless the Chinese government lets them, so they have no other choice than to do anything the government tells them to. If Apple were to decline the government could stop Apple from selling any devices at all in China, ban all import of Apple-devices, ban all export of parts and devices to Apple, throw any Apple-employees in China in jail for contempt of court and basically ruin Apple as a company since they still totally rely on Chinese import of parts for their devices. Do you really believe that Apple would be willing to ruin themselves like that worldwide, just to spite the government?

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47701507)

I don't think I'm the one being stupid here.

I said the government can come and tell Apple to give access to the data.

How? ON what basis? Apple is not based in China, and there certainly isn't any international law that would compel Apple to do so. You argue:

Apple can't conduct business on the Chinese soil unless the Chinese government lets them, so they have no other choice than to do anything the government tells them to.

So you really think China would willy-nilly force Apple out of the country, and in the process (because they would have no choice) shut down some of their own largest companies, which make Apple products?

You really don't get it. Governments can't just do any old shit they want, and damn the economy. I mean, we know Obama thinks he can, and look at the mess he's made.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a month ago | (#47701725)

How? ON what basis? Apple is not based in China, and there certainly isn't any international law that would compel Apple to do so. You argue:

If they wish to do business in China they have to comply with the Chinese law. It's that simple. I can't for example launch a company here, then start breaking the laws in the US while still being able to do business there. I have no idea why that is so damn difficult for you to understand.

So you really think China would willy-nilly force Apple out of the country, and in the process (because they would have no choice) shut down some of their own largest companies, which make Apple products?

The factories do a lot of parts for a lot of companies, not just Apple. They would not be shut down if they lost Apple, they'd still have plenty of other customers.

You really don't get it. Governments can't just do any old shit they want, and damn the economy. I mean, we know Obama thinks he can, and look at the mess he's made.

The Chinese economy isn't dependant on Apple.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47704605)

If they wish to do business in China they have to comply with the Chinese law. It's that simple. I can't for example launch a company here, then start breaking the laws in the US while still being able to do business there. I have no idea why that is so damn difficult for you to understand.

No shit, Sherlock. That isn't, and hasn't been, anything I'm arguing about.

The factories do a lot of parts for a lot of companies, not just Apple. They would not be shut down if they lost Apple, they'd still have plenty of other customers.

They'd just lose 80% of their business, not all of it. Duh.

The Chinese economy isn't dependant on Apple.

I didn't say it was. But a surprisingly large chunk of it is. I don't think you realize how important that chunk is.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

EvilJoker (192907) | about a month ago | (#47686637)

This story [npr.org] from 2008 suggests that the citizens support censorship.

This story [thediplomat.com] from a few months ago says most don't believe it is being censored/monitored.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about a month ago | (#47687575)

I believe those articles demonstrate several things, but it's impossible to tell in what proportions:

* Educational indoctrination from birth, censorship, and propaganda seem to be effective
* Some are afraid to say what they really think, especially when being quoted on the record
* Some don't mind authoritarian regimes or censorship

It's important not to draw conclusions solely from what people say when there are obvious external factors which may be influencing the truthfulness of their statements. The poll data linked in the second article indicated the information was gathered from phone calls and in-person interviews, which means the people responding could not be certain their opinions weren't being tracked or monitored in some way. If you can get in trouble for criticizing the government, and then poll people to see if they have any criticisms of the government, are you surprised when they tell you they have no real complaints?

Re: What's the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683911)

Are you retarded? Do you have any idea how much the Chinese market is worth to Apple? Here's a clue: http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2013/08/20/apple-has-a-near-50-billion-opportunity-in-china/

Re: What's the problem... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47683923)

Are you retarded? Do you have any idea how much the Chinese market is worth to Apple? Here's a clue: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gr... [forbes.com]

THE END MARKET is what Apple is going for. Screw the Chinese government. What they're doing is in the interest of the Chinese CUSTOMER.

And if you don't see that, then let's talk again about who's retarded.

Re: What's the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47684381)

And you think that Apple will be allowed to continue selling in China if they refuse to comply with Chinese law?

Market... and HQ Raids (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | about a month ago | (#47684665)

Parent A/C is right.

This is entirely about marketshare. Apple decided its market in China was worth making it really easy for China to take Apple's data and use it against people. It's an understandable business decision. You know, like when the Pope didn't denounce Hitler.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

cbraescu1 (180267) | about a month ago | (#47683939)

I think you're really a special kind of stupid.

First of all, a company doing business in a country must respect and obey the laws of said country. That goes without even saying, moron. Apple has registered subsidiaries in China, nevermind their huge manufacturing sourcing business in mainland.

As for "gradually been bringing its manufacturing back home" this means you are too stupid to cross the street. No consumer IT / electronics company in the US, Apple included, can bring manufacturing back to the US. The ecosystem for the electronics is simply not available in the US anymore. Apple made some noise about that http://www.forbes.com/sites/eamonnfingleton/2013/11/03/reports-of-americas-manufacturing-renaissance-are-just-a-cruel-hoax/ but it's *NOISE*, nothing more.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47686365)

I think you're really a special kind of stupid.

I think we'll let others decide that.

First of all, a company doing business in a country must respect and obey the laws of said country. That goes without even saying, moron. Apple has registered subsidiaries in China, nevermind their huge manufacturing sourcing business in mainland.

Show me where there is a law saying that Apple must store its encryption keys on-shore. Guess what? There isn't one. See, Apple isn't breaking the law because it isn't IN China, it just does business there. But there's more to this... very much more.

As for "gradually been bringing its manufacturing back home" this means you are too stupid to cross the street. No consumer IT / electronics company in the US, Apple included, can bring manufacturing back to the US

Yeah? [washingtonpost.com] How about this? [wsj.com] And this? [cnn.com] And this? [npr.org] And this? [detroitnews.com]

And many, many more. Hmmm. It seems just maybe I knew a bit more about it than you, eh?

Re:What's the problem... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a month ago | (#47686371)

Manufacturing happens in China because it's still labour intensive, and Chinese workers are cheap. Increasingly though, manufacturing is completely automated. At which point China has no advantage over anywhere else. At that stage there is advantage to manufacturing closer to the customers.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about a month ago | (#47684089)

> What a silly-assed thing to say. Sure, they could order it. And Apple could completely ignore them

Then China can, and will, close the server farms in China. Or arrest the managers in China for the equivalent of "contempt of court".

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47686373)

Then China can, and will, close the server farms in China. Or arrest the managers in China for the equivalent of "contempt of court".

Just as easily as Apple can, and will, pull its jobs back out of China. Which, it should be noted, support some of the largest and most successfull businesses in the country.

Apple can afford to do it. If it wants.

Re:What's the problem... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47687305)

Yeah, Apple can sure afford to turn down billions of customers and pull all of their cheap labour out of the country any time they choose.

You're so fucking stupid it's painful to watch. You actually think you're intellectually superior to people who are making better fucking points than you are. Patting yourself on the back for your own ignorance.

Maybe you should be on Etsy knitting woolen vagina hats instead of polluting Slashdot with your inferior intellect.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

EvilJoker (192907) | about a month ago | (#47686619)

I'm sure Apple will structure it to ensure the latter cannot be (legitimately) applied. The Chinese team, employed by Apple of China (or similar), will not have access to the encryption keys. Those will be stored stateside, accessible only to employees of Apple of America.

That being said, the authorities will ABSOLUTELY have the power to cut Apple out of China entirely. They will be walking a tight rope between giving in, and standing strong. Google went through a lot of this a few years ago, now Apple will have to try to do the same.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a month ago | (#47684239)

You're clearly saying that the point is about Apple's ability to manufacture in China, when this is just as clearly not about where they manufacture, but whether China will permit Apple to continue opening up the consumer market IN China.

Apple is rolling over to let the Chinese government rub their belly, because they want the cash they will get SELLING in China, not just making products there.

Re:What's the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47687531)

No, that's just marketing. They can just order Apple to decrypt the data since Apple has the keys. Their location doesn't matter since the data is in the country already.

What a silly-assed thing to say. Sure, they could order it. And Apple could completely ignore them. Big fucking deal.

Not as silly as what you are saying. Apple can be ordered to provide the keys - storing them offshore makes no difference to a court order.

Ignoring local laws of a country you want to do business in doesn't usually work out too well.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Calavar (1587721) | about a month ago | (#47684005)

If this was really about latency, Apple could have kept the servers in Japan or South Korea.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a month ago | (#47684169)

If this was really about latency, Apple could have kept the servers in Japan or South Korea.

Or, you know, in China near a well connected telecommunications hub instead of offshore where the data is routed through a small number of undersea fibers.

Re: What's the problem... (1)

Redbehrend (3654433) | about a month ago | (#47685443)

Apple would give data in a heartbeat.... They are all about profits lol...

Re:What's the problem... (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month ago | (#47684003)

Apple just confirmed what the Chinese government has been saying. The NSA has access to data they store. The keys are deliberately kept where the NSA has access to them. Of you don't want the US to steal your data, don't store it on an Apple server.

Looking at this from a Chinese perspective there is a lot more concern about the US than about their own government spying on them. The US uses the intel for economic advantage, and Chinese companies don't want to be at a disadvantage in negotiations.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a month ago | (#47684891)

apple needs to give stuff to chinese and usa, since it wants to operate in both countries and both countries have what are effectively secret courts and laws for such co-operation.

(and no, not every country has that)

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47686379)

Apple just confirmed what the Chinese government has been saying. The NSA has access to data they store. The keys are deliberately kept where the NSA has access to them. Of you don't want the US to steal your data, don't store it on an Apple server.

This is funny because every server I have worked on in the last 15 years -- and that means a lot -- has gotten regularly port-scanned and other penetration attempts from Chinese IP addresses. EVERY ONE of them.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month ago | (#47687967)

Sure, but you don't know if the scan was from a Chinese hacker or just a hijacked computer in China. There was another story about GCHQ port scanning entire countries yesterday. Why do you think they do that? It's to find vulnerable machines to hack in order to hide their own tracks.

Re:What's the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47684079)

You are a patriotic MORON. Please do not reproduce.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a month ago | (#47684159)

Apple's statement that its move is to "improve speed and reliability" is clearly bullshit, in light of the recent Chinese government demand that such data be stored in-country. So much is clear and obvious.

However, Apple should be given huge kudos if their claim that they store it encrypted, and that the encryption keys are offshore, is correct. If so, it's a brilliant move. Eat that, China!

how would that even work? When a user in china wants to access his data, that data is transmitted offshore to be decrypted and then the decrypted data is shipped back into China and served to the user? What would be the point of such a system?

Re: What's the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47684517)

The cynic in me says: So the NSA can have access.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a month ago | (#47684631)

I feel dumb by asking, but "encryption keys" is sort of vague, IMHO. What type of encryption? Disk level? SAN level (where PowerPath uses RSA keys to decrypt the LUN presented), LVM level with a tool like BitLocker? Database level? Application level (where all tuples are encrypted upstream)?

For example:

1: Take BitLocker for example. For I/O on a drive, it has to have the FVEK (full volume encryption key) in memory at all times. Even if the FVEK is unlocked from somewhere else (TPM chip), if it is slurped out of RAM, the drive can be decrypted.

2: If encryption is used on a database by an application not in China, then there is a bottleneck of all data going through that application.

3: If the Chinese servers are configures with IBM's SAN encryption and the keys for the physical drives are accessed offshore, then compromising of the machines the LUNs are presented to would bypass that.

Encryption is just one piece of a puzzle. Key management and implementation is a huge factor as well. Even something as humble as a tape backup can require infrastructure, both management and technical for adequate security [1].

[1]: Ironically, a lot of companies are well off by just setting a long passphrase on their tape drive silo, and calling it done, assuming the passphrase is stored on paper somewhere secure and well away from the media. I have seen extremely complex appliances that give every tape its own key. The vendor demanded the customer buy two appliances. When I asked the appliance vendor how I back up these tens of thousands of random keys, they said that I had to buy a third appliance to mirror. Way too expensive, complex, and too many moving parts when in a lot of cases, just a simple passphrase is just as good.

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a month ago | (#47684987)

Why is Apple deciding where users' data is stored anyway? Oh, that's right, proprietary walled-garden locked-down bullshit. And yes, Google is no better.

Re: What's the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47687171)

You seriously believe that line of horseshit? The key word in all of this is "offshore." Apple is doing what it has always done well, putting good timing to good use. At this stage of the game Apple, as well as anyone else following the news coming from the NSA, GCHQ et. al. know the following:

1) The United States is conducting global surveillance of the internet, outside of its own borders as well as in.

2) These days the human rights record of the US is no better than China's. Don't believe me? Go ahead and look up those photos of prisoners at Guantanamo being stripped naked save for a black bag over their heads, all while some psychopath of a woman (US soldier incidentally), grinning and giving the thumbs up to the camera. When you're done with that go ahead and look up "Collateral Murder," a video of a US helicopter engaging and killing unarmed civilians. Maybe you'd be interested in the legal process Bush Jr. used to literally redefine the legal definition of torture to fit what he thinks the people of the Middle East deserve. Daddy's boy went on a revenge mission in Iraq and they've left the country in shambles.

The point is, if there were anybody who might have protested Apple outsourcing their servers to China because of their human rights record...well, let's just say that in the past ten years or so, the americans have made Tiananmen Square look like a minor offense.

3) You'd have to be delusional to believe that the Chinese government would allow masses of american servers to be installed within their borders unless they had complete control over said servers. Oh that doesn't mean they'll ask permission. They'll demand it or force Apple out of the country. Neither party is going to admit to it because...

4) It's a cash grab. Apple is using all of these revelations regarding mass surveillance as an excuse to outsource to China. Plain and simple. It has nothing to do with protecting your privacy. Beijing doesn't even let its own people think out loud without the risk of "re-education" or worse, they have no intention to protect the privacy of US customers. If anything it's in their best interest to do the opposite...the americans are already doing the same damn thing.

5) The whole, "we promise to keep the encryption keys on offshore servers, pinky swear" bit? Utterly meaningless. If China wants a secret key from Apple they're going to get it, Apple wants to do business with Beijing. Refusing the request would only destroy the investment they're planning to make; refuse to give the Chinese government information and they will either steal it or simply cut off all financial ties with your business, or Apple in this case, shutting them out of a market of -billions- of potential clients. They have no choice. Either do as Beijing commands or you're out. The end.

The whole idea is a sham, security "theatre" of the internet. It's no different than the TSA molesting passengers under the guise of looking for bombs. Try and guess how many they've found so far. I'll give you a hint, if you're missing all five fingers on both hands you could still tally up the answer. Meanwhile you'll notice, as George Carlin put it, the drug dealers aren't having any trouble getting their packages on a plane, are they? Those packages shouldn't be there either but hey, the TSA is too busy checking to see if there are any explosives strapped to the genitals of underage children to care about a few tons of coke or heroin. You know, to keep you safe...from terrorists. McCarthy would have loved to have lived through the post 9/11 years. "Homeland Security," "House Unamerican Activities Committee." The only difference between the two is the bogeyman they're using to scare you with.

Your politicians are the only terrorists you need fear.

Re: What's the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47689707)

You've obviously never used the internet in Asia and experienced the typical transpacific latency. Intra-Asia latency isn't too horrible but trans-pacific latency is a serious issue. Talk to ANY US ex-pat living in Asia!

Re:What's the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47684279)

"only several"

Is this sarcasm? Only? Several? Is there one? More than one? More than two? Many? Much? More? 42?

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!

Re:What's the problem... (1)

Archtech (159117) | about a month ago | (#47684759)

But surely the reason is to keep the data out of the hands of the US courts?

Re:What's the problem... (1)

satuon (1822492) | about a month ago | (#47685319)

if the Chinese gov't wants data, they have SO many means at their disposal to capture it regardless of whether it's stored on a domestic server, or external

I assume they're not transmitting it in plain-text?

local storage for locals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683695)

bUT Why? That's, like, not cloudy enough, bro!!

Pure Marketing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683707)

Nevertheless, Apple assures its Chinese users that their personal data on China Telecom is encrypted and that the encryption keys will be stored offshore

This is pure marketing bullshit. How are they going to make the data available to their users if the keys are stored offshore? What use does encryption have if they have the keys and need to be able to decrypt the data on the fly, i.e. everyone with access to their servers can also decrypt the data?

The only secure way is to design the system such that the servers just see ciphertext coming in and going out. Everything else is not secure, especially if governments are involved. The Lavabit case should have made that clear once and for all even for non-experts.

Re:Pure Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683719)

Fully agree. The networks cannot be trusted anymore so there must be an end-to-end chain of encryption between modern data centers.

Re:Pure Marketing (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about a month ago | (#47684773)

It doesn't matter anyway, since China will have hacked the encryption keys within minutes of generating them.

Or the NSA will have hacked them, passed them them on to Israel (NSA gives Israel raw intelligence access), who will then sell them to China in exchange for whatever weapons they can't get from the US.

Not just China (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a month ago | (#47683727)

[...] but given China's track record with censorship and privacy, the explanation rings hollow for some skeptics.[...]

Given the United State's track record, I think the skeptics should worry about data collection at home too.

Why always focus on China when it comes to human rights and privacy issues? Just look at your own navel for a change...

Re:Not just China (1)

Rick in China (2934527) | about a month ago | (#47683735)

Hey quick! Look over there! (Governing 101: utilize distraction/fear-mongering.)

Re:Not just China (2)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | about a month ago | (#47683841)

It looks to be an obvious move.
Accept that various agencies in various countries are trawling for data. Storing data locally minimises the number of agencies which have access to that data. Once the Snowden revalations became public, keeping data within national boundaries became a selling point for (not just) ISPs in most countries. I suppose I was ahead of the curve, I avoided Cloud services for just that reason - and then suspicions were confirmed.

When the Chinese Government request (or demand) that users' data remain within the country it is more about keeping things away from the NSA than making sure they themselves have access to it. I can imagine that users in that country share some of those concerns, they certainly do in Germany.

Re:Not just China (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683873)

[...] but given China's track record with censorship and privacy, the explanation rings hollow for some skeptics.[...]

Given the United State's track record, I think the skeptics should worry about data collection at home too.

Why always focus on China when it comes to human rights and privacy issues? Just look at your own navel for a change...

Does every slashdot article have to come back to trashing the USA these days?

Re:Not just China (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a month ago | (#47683967)

Does every slashdot article have to come back to trashing the USA these days?

Well, they would certainly have earned that by now.

Re:Not just China (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a month ago | (#47683971)

[...] but given China's track record with censorship and privacy, the explanation rings hollow for some skeptics.[...]

Given the United State's track record, I think the skeptics should worry about data collection at home too.

Why always focus on China when it comes to human rights and privacy issues? Just look at your own navel for a change...

Does every slashdot article have to come back to trashing the USA these days?

Don't ou think it's kindof relevent? Given they're talking about privacy of data, and the other option for storing would be in the States? Mm?

Re:Not just China (4, Informative)

Clsid (564627) | about a month ago | (#47684325)

I have been living in China for quite a bit now, and I actually ask the same thing myself when I read something about China. Even this move by Apple is distorted in the way that the article is presented to always put the Chinese as the evil bad guys. Hell, I don't like the GFW myself, but I have to admit that this move by Apple is something of a trend for every tech company doing business in China. You incur a huge penalty in response times when you have to fetch content from the outside, which is why we go to great lengths in stuff we develop to make sure we are not linking to some google font, some blogspot/facebook link, etc.

Re:Not just China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47686045)

This. I visit China regularly and never realized how much the internet depends on Google. US sites often use Googlefonts or APIs or analytics...with Google half blocked in China, some sites don't even load because of the external content. I was once told there's something like 9 pipelines out of China for the whole country. Bottom line is that sites that don't load from servers in China take FOREVER.

It's likely a little of both: it's a lot faster to keep it within China's borders, which means that if Apple stores it offshore, their service is probably close to unusable. On the other hand, it's likely the CCP had some hand in this matter as well.

Re:Not just China (1)

poity (465672) | about a month ago | (#47686109)

The people in China who are wary of this are those of the Slashdot mindset -- your spiritual and intellectual compatriots who want the same thing as you do, privacy and to be left alone by government. Instead of standing up for friends and allies, there are those on Slashdot who would stand up for government. I don't get it. Are your minds warped somehow? Are you all so tolerant of others that you forget who you should be tolerant of?

Re:Not just China (1)

reikae (80981) | about a month ago | (#47685835)

This is a US-centric website, so the answer is yes.

Re:Not just China (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a month ago | (#47684629)

It DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE where Apple stores credit card / serial number / address info. Look folks, it's pretty obvious. Any government larger than, say, North Korea, has the contacts, money and power to get any consumer or personal information running across their territory. Britain, France, Germany, hell even Portugal or Texas (well maybe not Texas).

So, all you can hope for, be you Chinese or American, Swiss or Tongan, is that your friggen Credit Card stays away from some clown in Eastern Europe who wants to make a quick buck. That's ALL you can hope to do.

You put something on a computer hooked to the Internet - it's not private anymore. End of story.

If there's profit to be made... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683731)

You do what China tells you to do. 1 billion plus population...that's a lot of iThings

Good thing they're not storing it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683737)

on a Chinese penis. They could only store a few bytes on that.

Trust the USA (3, Insightful)

Skylinux (942824) | about a month ago | (#47683743)

Nevertheless, Apple assures its Chinese users that their personal data on China Telecom is encrypted and that the encryption keys will be stored offshore.

So the keys are only stored back at the headquarter in the USA?

The place where a "judge" can order any company to deliver the customer's data to the state?
Data of users who may not be citizens of the USA and even data that is stored on foreign soil.

Re:Trust the USA (2)

Skylinux (942824) | about a month ago | (#47683747)

Almost forgot. The place where you get punished for not revealing your encryption key(s) to the court.

"I have something to hide, my privacy."

Re:Trust the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683957)

So the keys are only stored back at the headquarter in the USA?

The EU, India, South America, other Far Eastern countries, etc should do the same.
Order every USA company to store their data locally or forefit market access.

The day will surely come when NSA trolls will nominate
Edward Snowden and Julian Assange for Nobel Prize and
learn to move on minus the trolls.

Flipside of the coin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683749)

If traffic doesn't cross borders to the USA, the USA can't spy on it.

Re: Flipside of the coin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683793)

Thanks. I needed a laugh.

Re: Flipside of the coin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683893)

May I ask what you are laughing about?

Re: Flipside of the coin (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a month ago | (#47683977)

May I ask what you are laughing about?

Since the USA have installed listening breaks in international undersea cables, I'd guess he laughing at the naivety of the original statement.

Re: Flipside of the coin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47684175)

Huh? A lot of the data does not have to travel through undersea cables if it is stored in China.

lawful interception... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683809)

It does not matter if they store the keys up at the Apple CEO's butt...
If they place the servers on Chinese physical land, then it is under Chinese jurisdiction, and the Chinese government can use their normal legal interception laws to get any data they want.
If they do not comply they confiscate the servers and start issuing large fines on Apple.

The only difference between "normal" US/UK/DE or whatever western world is that the Chinese has a much broader idea on what can be illegal.
So i would not trust that data store for 1second.

Re:lawful interception... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about a month ago | (#47683965)

If the collect payments for the service using the Chinese banking system, then the Chinese government can use their normal legal channels to get the data they want.

Re:lawful interception... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47686993)

The only difference between "normal" US/UK/DE or whatever western world is that the Chinese has a much broader idea on what can be illegal.

Well said. The corollary being that "western world" like the US and UK governments has a much broader idea on what can be legal. Such as:
- locking people up in Gitmo forever
- spying on everyone, including Congress
- torturing people by calling it "not torture" (i.e. waterboarding)
- killing people, including own citizens, without trial using drones

Apple is looking at their bottom line (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683815)

I think its clear Apple is simply looking at their bottom line and maybe also considering storage by region to some extent. I don't think people realize how much this is already being done without much public fanfare. Google certainly has server farms all over the World and Microsoft too. As well as many companies you probably do business with. Given the whole NSA situation in the States. Does finding out that my information is stored possibly in China make me feel any worse? Hardly. My own Country sifts through my data and I have no doubt China could do the same no matter where my data is stored.

Re:Apple is looking at their bottom line (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a month ago | (#47684007)

According to TFA your data won't be stored in China unless you live in China. I assume Apple had to choose between playing by the Chinese government's rules or not playing at all; although I assume this is just a delaying tactic by China to maintain control until they can replace Apple with something of their own.

Yes, it is better to store on NSA servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683839)

Sure, Chinese should NSA servers instead.

And? (2)

drolli (522659) | about a month ago | (#47683875)

Seems reasonable to me. Actually reduced the needed data transport. The great firewall is in place for the data transfers to the outside world. I am sure the cn gvmnt has to possibility to targeted intercept, as has the america, german, russian or british governments.

Given what we learned in the recent years, placing data and encyption keys in two different legislations (chinese and america) is the most straighforward way to protect against legal interception.

Re:And? (1)

Pikoro (844299) | about a month ago | (#47683949)

But if the keys are stored in the USA, and the data is in China, then the keys will have to traverse the great firewall in order for the user to decrypt their data. That data will be susceptible to interception once it passes into China.

This is just marketing.

Re:And? (1)

drolli (522659) | about a month ago | (#47685625)

To me there is a significant difference between somthing affecting all stored dasta and only affecting data accessed after a specific date.

People's Republic of China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47683999)

Ah, what's in a name...

Easy workaround. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47684009)

So the Chinese government will pay off employees to provide access. Just like the US government does. It's not an official channel so the company doesn't even know about it and can't be blamed for it.

Offshore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47684033)

"the encryption keys will be stored off-shore" is different from "the encryption keys will be stored off-shore for ever"

Re:Offshore (1)

oji-sama (1151023) | about a month ago | (#47684475)

"the encryption keys will be stored off-shore" is different from "the encryption keys will be stored off-shore for ever"

Indeed, as you need the key every time the data is read...

"resist Chinese government requests"? ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47684289)

"Only time will tell if Apple will be able to resist Chinese government requests to access its China-based servers." -> like they resisted the US government? ha!

Yes, it's more secure (2)

penguinoid (724646) | about a month ago | (#47684459)

Option 1: Store the Chinese data in China. The Chinese government owns all their bits.

Option 2: Store the Chinese data in the US and route it through China. The Chinese government owns all their bits. And so does the US.

It's pure marketing, of course. If they were really interested in security, they'd store only encrypted data without the key. But then it wouldn't be searchable, and a bunch of idiots would forget their encryption key and be angry because there'd be no magic recovery system.

Re:Yes, it's more secure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47686329)

If they are following the same iCloud storage procedures they do for the US, see here: http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/docs/iOS_Security_Feb14.pdf (page 22 onwards) then try to poke holes in the encryption and key management techniques they’re using.

There’s a lot of speculation here, but Apple explain exactly how they deal with data on their servers. Of course, who is to say whether the Chinese government were upset with that level of protection and asked for something else.

All Your Switches and Routers Belong To Us (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about a month ago | (#47684549)

China already builds spyworthy Cisco networking gear, why would they have to ask Apple for access?

Me too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47686163)

Can they store my data on Chinese servers too, please, and avoid the US altogether?
I'd rather take open censorship, than silent spying and (probably) malware injection.

The ruling CCP is very desperate these days. (2)

quakeiscoming (3787001) | about a month ago | (#47687863)

I am a Chinese who studies China for a living, and it is becoming more and more apparent to many people, that the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) knows it is on its last straw of survival.

The party is facing severe and increasing systematic stress on all fronts:

1. Increasing external oppositions from all other countries in the world, forming more and more alliances and becoming more outspoken with rising strengths against China, as well as increasing anti-China sentiment from people in all other countries.

2. Increasing internal severe and massive violent social unrest and anti-CCP mutiny from people of all Chinese living places e.g. mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Macau etc. To suppress internal dissent, the CCP every year is forced to spend even more money than on its massive military budget.

3. Fierce and unstoppable purges and mutually-destructive infighting among different factions within the party, who are imprisoning and killing each other every day. This power grab goes on under the thin guise of "anti-corruption drive" when everyone knows all officials in china are corrupted.

4. Its own economy never able to develop to higher level beyond mass skill-less manufacturing, due to complete absence of law and common morals. This is a death knock to the "growth-based legitimacy" of the CCP, which is the only thing CCP can rely on for continuing ruling power. The CCP is on its last resort of printing literally trillions of worthless renminbi to dump into the economy, causing way more long-term harm than short-term help, and when that is over there is nothing else the CCP can do to prop up the failing economy.

4. China's mass skill-less manufacturing itself is going away due to increasing costs and openly hostile and unfair business environment full of frauds and government robberies. This is worsened by the rise of robotic automatic manufacturing and 3D printing.

5. Its many suppressed fatal problems have all grown too big to be contained all breaking out at the same time e.g.

- severe carcinogenic poisonous pollution everywhere in air and water and soil and their own food etc
- skyrocketing unrepayable bad debts of all kinds everywhere, its true scope unknown because all data from China are faked
- biggest housing bubble in human history, in addition to innumerous crumbling ghost cities and shoddily-built infrastructure that cannot and will not be used
- rapidly aging and gender-lopsided demographics (from one child policy, culture of "leftover women", and all Chinese families killing their own daughters so as to chase boys)
- world's no.1 wealth inequality, with a Gini coefficient rivalling 18th century France just before the French revolution
- complete absence of soft power and cultural/social influence
- all Chinese chasing foreign-brand goods and services while ditching low-quality poisonous Chinese-brands, dashing CCP's hope to build domestic consumption economy
- corruptions and fraud throughout the whole rotten core of a system
- desperate mass exodus in all levels of Chinese society to escape the country, by all able Chinese with talents and money going elsewhere
- the law of large numbers and the "middle-income trap" all work against the "growth-based legitimacy" CCP desperately needs for its survival

Most importantly, the CCP knows that if 1.3 billion Chinese learn about basic morals, truth, fairness, human rights, rule of law, freedom, universal values etc the CCP will be toppled very quickly. Therefore its brainwashing education and propaganda machine ensure a complete lack of morals and regard for laws in all Chinese.

This results in failure in all basic aspects of human interactions with every modern Chinese, whether it is business trading / personal dealings / technoholgy development / creating innovations / human communications / scientific research / artistic expressions / teamwork collaborations / academic exchange etc.

All these festering fundamental systematic problems are getting worse and worse everyday until one day when the system can suddenly no longer bear. Think USSR in 1989.

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