In 2018, Apple was forced, like the rest of tech companies, to store data from Chinese customers’ iCloud operations. on servers located in the country, giving the key to the Chinese authorities so that they can access all the content stored by the citizens of the country, no matter how much Apple says otherwise.
It was the first step for the Chinese government to control its citizens. But not the only one, since from November 1 a new law on data protection comes into force which forces businesses to store more data locally preventing them from being transferred out of the country.
This new law will force the company to store even more confidential user information such as iPhone usage statistics and communication logs and all other Apple products (data that Apple collects if the user gives permission when setting up iPhone for the first time).
Various analysts say this information could used to track and identify political dissidents and activists in China.
This new law, which goes hand in hand with another entry into force on September 1, according to L’Information, will put Apple in an impasse, since according to the lawyers and analysts consulted by this means, it is a new pressure measure for the company to continue operating in the country
The same media claim that in 2015, Chinese authorities visited Apple’s Shanghai offices asking the company to start store information such as sales data from your retail stores in the country, although it’s not clear if Apple has already done so.
Censorship on the App Store
In recent years, Apple has withdrawn a large number of applications available in the App Store, applications of all kinds but mainly those that offer information to foreign media, as is the most recent case of Yahoo Finance, as we announced to you a few days ago.
However, these are not the only applications that are in the eye of the China Cyberspace Administration, since a week ago, Apple at the request of this administration withdrew an application from the Quran, even though it is a religion officially recognized by the government.
For control access to information, VPNs have been totally banned for 4 years, both inside and outside the App Store. Any app or group of apps that allow users to bypass government information control has no place in the Chinese App Store.
Apple has been decentralizing the manufacturing of most of its products and components from China to other countries like Vietnam and India for more than a year, as if it knew that sooner or later it would have to cut off relations with the country, Either from own reason or bound by the Chinese government.
The importance of the market to Apple
China is a critical market for Apple, and the company has made many compromises on security and privacy in the past. Corn whether Apple complies with the new regulationsit is likely to face further criticism from US lawmakers and human rights activists.
The motivation of the Chinese Cyberspace Administration to create this new law to store more data locally is that they fear that the data of Chinese citizens stored outside the country are available to US intelligence services.
However, user data stored in China can easily be monitored by state authorities. Come on they don’t want to share this data with the CIA.
It should not be forgotten that technology companies working in Europe are also forced to store in the old continent European user data.
LinkedIn has said enough
As Tesla began storing customer data on servers in China, this new law helped LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft), announcing that closes its operations in the country alleging “Significantly more difficult operating environment and higher compliance requirements. “
Google and 2010, was the first to tire quickly
We already know what Apple will do
Apple is a company, not an NGO, so you have to earn money. He was well aware of what he was doing and the consequences it could have in the future when he started expanding in the country, a country where Apple is currently present through 43 Apple Stores.
Will Apple protect its customers from an authoritarian regime? Will it protect its economic interests and continue to collaborate with the Chinese regime? Unfortunately, we all know the answer.
Apple will hide behind it takes comply with the local laws of the countries where it is present. And considering that one in four smartphones sold in China is an iPhone, the idea of shutting down to stop selling in China doesn’t even occur to them.
Now it is likely that if American lawmakers and human rights organizations do enough noise, Apple may change its strategy and, for the first time, stand up to the Chinese government.
As the date of entry into force of this new law approaches, November 1 we will know more information on what Apple plans to do about it.
It is likely, as has happened with other laws, that the Chinese government delay the entry into force of this new lawAlthough this is unlikely, as the Cupertino-based company already has servers in the country where Apple’s user data is currently stored.