Complying with Chinese law mandating that customer data collected on the China mainland be stored locally, Apple has now officially confirmed that it will be turning over Chinese customers’ iCloud data to a state-owned local partner on February 28.
A support document on Apple’s website confirms the move, saying that starting February 28, 2018, the operation of iCloud services in China will be transferred to Chinese internet services company Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data Industrial Development Co., Ltd., (GBCD).
“This will allow us to continue to improve the speed and reliability of iCloud in China and comply with Chinese regulations,” says the firm. Photos, videos, documents, backups and other data will be subject to the new Terms and Conditions of iCloud operated by GCBD.
All Apple IDs with China in their country or region setting will be subject to this transition. “You will be notified of this transition via email and notifications on your devices,” said the firm. “You don’t need to take any further action and can keep using iCloud in China.”
Customers who log on to the Chinese iCloud website are notified of the upcoming change and informed that they can either keep using iCloud or deactivate it come February 28. After February 28, users will need to agree to the new terms to keep using iCloud in China.
Apple provides an opt-out link at icloud.com/optout for those who want to indicate that they would like to deactivate their iCloud account as of February 28, 2018.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple claims it “has strong data-privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems” in China.
Apple also shut down 100+ virtual private network apps last year to abide by Chinese laws.
Complying with the new rules, which the country’s officials say are needed to ensure the privacy of its citizens’ data, Amazon Web Services last year sold computing equipment used for its cloud services in China to its local partner.