“Human rights activists say they fear the authorities could use that power to track down dissidents, citing cases from more than a decade ago in which Yahoo Inc handed over user data that led to arrests and prison sentences for two democracy advocates,” Nellis and Cadell report. “Jing Zhao, a human rights activist and Apple shareholder, said he could envisage worse human rights issues arising from Apple handing over iCloud data than occurred in the Yahoo case.”
“In a statement, Apple said it had to comply with recently introduced Chinese laws that require cloud services offered to Chinese citizens be operated by Chinese companies and that the data be stored in China. It said that while the company’s values don’t change in different parts of the world, it is subject to each country’s laws,” Nellis and Cadell report. “‘While we advocated against iCloud being subject to these laws, we were ultimately unsuccessful,’ it said. Apple said it decided it was better to offer iCloud under the new system because discontinuing it would lead to a bad user experience and actually lead to less data privacy and security for its Chinese customers.”
“While China does have data privacy laws, there are broad exceptions when authorities investigate criminal acts, which can include undermining communist values, ‘picking quarrels’ online, or even using a virtual private network to browse the Internet privately,” Nellis and Cadell report. “Privacy lawyers say the changes represent a big downgrade in protections for Chinese customers. ‘The U.S. standard, when it’s a warrant and when it’s properly executed, is the most privacy-protecting standard,’ said Camille Fischer of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Apple should immediately make iCloud an opt-in service, rather than opt-out, for Chinese users.
Chinese users should not use iCloud for any data they wish to keep private.
Exit question: Why can’t Chinese citizens be trusted with freedom?
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