International User Accounts Swept Up in Chinese iCloud Data Migration [Updated]

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's announcement on Wednesday that its iCloud services in mainland China will be handed over to a Chinese company has already run into controversy, after it emerged that accounts registered overseas are being swept up in the migration.

    Apple said yesterday that customers based in China had been contacted and advised to examine new terms and conditions, which include a clause that both Apple and the Chinese firm will have access to all data stored on iCloud servers, which will be transferred from February 28. Customers living in mainland China who did not want to use iCloud operated by GCBD had been given the option to terminate their account.


    However, according to some users who spoke to TechCrunch, in the data to be handled by local partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD), Apple is including 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.

    When asked for comment, Apple pointed to its terms and conditions site, which explains that it is migrating iCloud accounts based on the settings of the user's device, not where an iCloud account is registered or billed to.
    As it stands, this could result in thousands of users temporarily living in China to study or work having their data migrated to servers under the control of GCBD, which is owned by the Guizhou provincial government in southern China.

    The situation is said to have left many users feeling trapped into the migration, but one user has discovered an apparent opt-out. This involves switching an iCloud account back to China before signing out of all devices. The user then switches their iPhone and iCloud settings to the U.S., and after signing back into iCloud, their account should no longer be part of the migration.

    "What will Apple do when the Chinese authorities request a backdoor to access data that is encrypted?" Charlie Smith, founder of censorship monitoring site Great Fire, told TechCrunch. "Will they continue to adhere to local laws and regulations and submit to the request? Or are they leaving this decision squarely in the hands of GCBD, their local partner?"

    Updated: Apple says a very small number of customers whose Apple ID country is not China received this notice by mistake, as noted by TechCrunch. Apple says no changes have been made to these users' iCloud accounts.
    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: International User Accounts Swept Up in Chinese iCloud Data Migration [Updated]
  2. BlueParadox macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
  3. Zarniwoop, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018

    Zarniwoop macrumors 65816

    Aug 12, 2009
    West coast, Finland
    My way (1.4 billion people market) or highway...

    Money talks and freedom (BS) walks...
  4. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    Guess it is time to permanently leave my iCloud account in Australia and try to salvage some apps downloaded from Chinese App Store to Australian store and abandon those which are unwanted or less important.

    Such “international migration” is not what I want. Period.
  5. c0ppo macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2013
  6. Mike MA macrumors 68000

    Mike MA

    Sep 21, 2012
    Welcome to the cloud, with all associated benefits and drawbacks!
  7. kstotlani macrumors 6502a

    Oct 27, 2006
  8. Solomani macrumors 68040


    Sep 25, 2012
    Alberto, Canado
    I'm not Chinese, never been to China, never had a Chinese App Store account. But I once had an Apple user account with username like FortuneCookie. Oh noes! Will all my subsequent Apple accounts now be lumped into the Chinese servers? :p
  9. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
  10. TheColtr macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2014
    It’s a sad situation that China feels the need to do this. Heavy handed government is never good for the people. I understand their want to keep citizens data on servers within China, but forcing to partner with a Chinese company sounds like a sly way to get into users cloud data.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 11, 2018 ---
    As far as I know google is almost, if not completely, non existent in China. Googles main focus is on colllecting users data, and China isn’t cool with letting a foreign company collect its citizens data. As for Microsoft I’m unsure about that one
  11. Makayla macrumors regular


    Dec 20, 2016
    google probably knows what i had for dinner today. heck, it probably knows what i want for breakfast tomorrow too. lol
  12. macfacts macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2012
    Google just doesn't do business in China.
  13. 555gallardo macrumors regular


    Jan 16, 2016
    At least it won't take you half an hour to decide what to eat :D
  14. kemal macrumors 65816


    Dec 21, 2001
  15. jm001 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2011
    No because that term isn't even remotely connected to China. It's 'Murican.

    Yes this is about $$$$$$ for Apple, but it's also about operating within the laws/regulations of another country. We talk about freedom this, freedom that, but we're lucky to be living in North America. Unfortunately for Apple, a foreign company operating in China, they have to follow the law of the land.
  16. Patrick J macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    Is there a way to check if our accounts are or not part of this migration?
  17. martint235 macrumors 6502


    Apr 13, 2016
    Heaven forbid a private multi-national company actually tries to make money for its global shareholders
  18. Patrick J, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018

    Patrick J macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    It appears that going to and clicking the de-activate link will show this message if you are not affected by this change.

    The country or region setting for your Apple ID associated with iCloud is not set to China.

    This website is only intended for iCloud users in China.

  19. JosephAW macrumors 68020


    May 14, 2012
    Well at least they are informing their users the they are about to read all their data in the cloud. In America the govmnt uses secret programs like PRISM to spy on us and we don't find out until someone blows the whistle that our Fourth Admendment is being violated and then they have to flee the country for their lives.
  20. unclemax macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2015
    Wait, so what are the exact implications of this move? I remember from the San Bernardino shooters’ case that Apple was able to access iCloud data of the terrorist upon request, without much hassle. Does this mean that GCBD (and hence the Chinese government) will also be able to do so or is there some extra layer of security where Apple has control over e.g. encryption keys?

    Second, is this migration somehow paired up with banning the iCloud for all other users who don’t go through the Chinese servers, e.g. will iCloud be inaccessible to a visitor from abroad same way Dropbox is?

    It’s sad news for freedom, but not unexpected given China’s recent laws on intelligence gathering (passed in Spring-Summer 2017, which mandate that basically everyone is legally required to cooperate with its intelligence agencies), a new crackdown on VPNs and introduction of Social Credit pilot schemes in several cities which are designed almost exactly as shown in one of the Black Mirror episodes, only it’s the Big Brother that awards you points.
  21. Mildredop macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2013
    It seems Apple is all about privacy... except when it gets in the way of their profits.
  22. Avieshek Suspended


    Dec 7, 2013
    What if, I happen to have a temporary stay in China?
  23. martint235 macrumors 6502


    Apr 13, 2016
    And you have to ask yourself "Which is its priority? Privacy or profits?" I don't think it's a difficult question
  24. Shirasaki, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018

    Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    Mine shows the English version of that icloud service change message after clicking that link but I did not receive an email from Apple notifying me of corresponding change. My Apple ID was originally registered in China but now in Australia. Don’t know why. Oh, and there is no “opt out” button to click.
  25. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    Maybe so but Apple is definitely run by cowards.

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