Tech giants with headquarters in America have been under pressure from the Chinese government to secure the data of Chinese users in China. Apple, for example, is particularly targeted by the communist regime of China. Apple argues that its security systems in China are the most robust. However, an opinion written and published by the editorial board of The Washington Post calls for Apple to resist China. It highlights concerns that no moral or physical person can in fact escape the scrutiny of the Chinese government which is why Apple’s data in China is not exactly safe. Here is an excerpt:
“YOU GET in the arena, because nothing ever changes from the sideline.” This is how Apple CEO Tim Cook made the case a few years ago for his company’s presence in China. But an investigation by the New York Times suggests less is changing from inside the arena than Apple’s defenders have hoped.
This week’s report reveals the extent to which Apple must compromise its principles of privacy and civil liberties to appease President Xi Jinping’s government. Apple has always said that a U.S. firm can better stand up to the demands of the invasive regime than could a homegrown alternative, and indeed there are requests for personal information or app store takedowns that Apple has refused. But security experts worry that the very structure of its new iCloud centers in the country puts data at risk. Apple’s proactive efforts to censor its Chinese app store are similarly dispiriting.
Apple moved the data of its Chinese customers to the servers of a state-owned Chinese company not because it wished to, but because a 2016 cybersecurity law required onshoring. For the same reason, Apple moved the encryption keys for unlocking the data to that company’s centers. Apple insists that its security in China is its most robust anywhere and that the keys remain under its control; critics wonder how safe any data can really be on Chinese soil under the auspices of a Chinese institution. They wonder, too, how likely Apple is to deny Chinese orders to hand over data when authorities decide to ask for it rather than just take it.
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