Apple has announced that the company will be making several changes to its business practices in China. One major change that is being made is that Apple will begin storing its data on users in China on servers provided by China Telecom. China is the world’s most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people living within its borders.
China Telecom was chosen in part because it is the third largest carrier in China and is one of Apple’s iPhone carrier partners. The purpose of the change was to make its iCloud online storage service more efficient and better able to serve its Chinese users. This will be the first time that Apple has stored user data on servers located within the borders of mainland China.
Some are worried about the change because China Telecom is state-controlled, with the state owning 71% of the company’s shares. Because the data is being stored within the borders of China, the Chinese government can obtain the user data from Apple in cases that fall under Chinese law.
To quell complaints, Apple assured that China Telecom would not have access to the content stored on the servers, all of the data would be encrypted, and the encryption keys will be stored outside of China. Google, one of Apple’s strongest competitors, does not have any data centers located on mainland China because of concerns over the security of the data and possible censorship by authorities.
Apple also announced that it will be discontinuing the use of two potentially harmful chemicals in the creation of its devices. Workers at some of the Chinese factories where the Apple products were assembled were harmed by their contact with the chemicals. The chemicals were used in the assembly of iPhones and iPads.
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