“Apple announced last week that it will open a data center in Guizhou, China. This is a first-of-its-kind action by a major United States tech company since the passage last month of strict new Chinese digital commerce regulations that require foreign companies with operations in China to store users’ data in the country,” Dipayan Ghosh writes for The New York Times. “These events could threaten to disrupt the free flow of information over the internet.”

“China’s claim that the regulation is meant to enhance individual privacy rights is a facade. The government wants to quell international competition by raising the barrier to entry for outside players. In turn, China hopes to monopolize the market for technology services for its huge domestic consumer market,” Ghosh writes. “China’s [data] localization efforts are hugely problematic for two main reasons. First, localization is a tremendously expensive exercise for companies that deal in data, so much so that only the world’s richest firms can afford it. Second, a history of snooping by Chinese entities means not only that firms should be wary of the potential for industrial espionage, but also that the Chinese people should be worried about their right to privacy, because the Chinese government may now be able to gain access to their data whenever it desires.”

“In the world of privacy, there are two threats: corporations and government. This regulation will create a system by which firms will try to serve China’s regulators as efficiently as they can. The firms that rise to the top in such a system will necessarily have to be close to the Chinese government,” Ghosh writes. “Why, then, was Apple so quick to announce the new Guizhou data center, in effect signaling its compliance with the aggressive new rules? It’s simple: Apple hopes to protect its market share in China.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As if China ever had “free flow of information over the internet.”

Apple sets up China data center to meet new cybersecurity rules – July 12, 2017