Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
China Privacy Apple

Apple Moves To Store iCloud Keys in China, Raising Human Rights Fears ( 33

Apple will begin hosting Chinese users' iCloud accounts in a new Chinese data center at the end of this month to comply with new laws there. The move would give Chinese authorities far easier access to text messages, email and other data stored in the cloud. From a report: That's because of a change to how the company handles the cryptographic keys needed to unlock an iCloud account. Until now, such keys have always been stored in the United States, meaning that any government or law enforcement authority seeking access to a Chinese iCloud account needed to go through the U.S. legal system. Now, according to Apple , for the first time the company will store the keys for Chinese iCloud accounts in China itself. That means Chinese authorities will no longer have to use the U.S. courts to seek information on iCloud users and can instead use their own legal system to ask Apple to hand over iCloud data for Chinese users, legal experts said.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Moves To Store iCloud Keys in China, Raising Human Rights Fears

Comments Filter:
  • by Excelcia ( 906188 ) <> on Sunday February 25, 2018 @11:31AM (#56184687) Homepage Journal

    Or, alternatively, how about "Keys for Chinese Accounts Moving to China - Easing Fears NSA Can Tap Communications"

    Imagine this from their perspective. Keys for communications that are increasingly being used in official capacities have been held in a country that is antagonistic to you. A country with hugely funded security apparatus that has demonstrably and repeatedly used government sponsored back doors in computing equipment and undisclosed zero day vulnerabilities in operating systems to get access to your communications and industrial infrastructure.

    I find it amusing that every time China takes a step in this direction the news outlets decry fears of human rights abuses. Like, say, Guantanamo Bay, the Collateral Murder [], and every Snowden revelation have never happened. It's no surprise that China is creating rules to require cryptographic keys be held there. The surprise is that it took them this long.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You can't honestly think that Chinese users are more concerned about the NSA, which doesn't routinely prosecute Chinese citizens, eavesdropping on their communications than they are about their own government, which does routinely prosecute Chinese citizens.

      And the Chinese government leads the world for number of people executed every year by a very large margin. Critics of the government are frequently among those executed, which is why this matters.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Whereas America leads the world in number of people rotting away on death row waiting ti die. America is also way out in front in number of people locked up, and they only have a quarter the population China does. Who are the real criminals here?
    • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @12:03PM (#56184741)

      I find it amusing that every time China takes a step in this direction the news outlets decry fears of human rights abuses. Like, say, Guantanamo Bay, the Collateral Murder [], and every Snowden revelation have never happened.

      You would have a point if not for the fact that China's level of authoritarianism is enough to make even the most security paranoid republican blush and they are pushing toward a dystopian future of new extremes. China is opening new re-education camps [] and I do point out that they are new because, surprise! They had Re-education through labor [] from 1957 and only started to shut them down in 2013. China doesn't even release the number of prisoners it executes because "that's none of our business". However, the thousands of people on death-row are "donate" their livers annually [] but China promises it was all voluntary and they promised to stop doing it.

      You should really learn more about China because it has a history human rights violations that should be taken lightly.

      • by Excelcia ( 906188 ) <> on Sunday February 25, 2018 @04:48PM (#56184893) Homepage Journal

        You would have a point if not for the fact that China's level of authoritarianism is enough to make even the most security paranoid republican blush

        Really, you want to go there? Ok, let's talk about that. If I lived in the United States, I would have about a ten percent [] chance of being incarcerated in state or federal prison in my lifetime. If I was black, it would be closer to 30%. Either it's a country full to the brim with criminals, or state and federal "justice" is a pretty lose term. Every time I drive down to visit my brother, I actually get nervous. Crossing the border is a stressful event. The airports, where the recorded announcements of "don't set something down or you will be seen as a terrorist" playing on a constant loop don't serve help the "Welcome to America!" ambiance any. This was all pre-Trump too. I won't bother to link anything on that, I will leave a search engine query of "USA racism since Trump" an an exercise for the reader. The result is pretty telling though, unfortunately, not surprising.

        China's record isn't any better. But they aren't really that much worse either. They are industrializing, modernizing, and (slowly) liberalizing country. They are trying to govern more people in more varied circumstances than any other government in the world. The people there (including the people in government) aren't better, or worse, they are just different. In any case, human rights changes won't come from Apple keeping the crypto keys here. They won't happen by outside pressure. They never do. They will happen when the Chinese people demand it. Apartheid fell not from sanctions but from the demands of those within. Imposing change from the outside never works. Imposing democracy on Afghanistan and Iraq sure worked great, didn't it?

        If I'm a Chinese citizen, am I more paranoid about the NSA reading my email, or the Chinese government reading my email?

        This was from a different poster, but I don't wont to write two replies - Slashdot is sluggish and error prone right now.

        This is fair enough. In fact, it was something I brought up in a post I made [] on the Slashdot story about the US government warning not to buy Huwei phones. In that post I pointed out as a normal user, a Huwei phone might actually seem great to me. If it's tapped by the Chinese, what do I care? At least they won't be sharing my data with the NSA. However, from China's perspective, moving the keys over there makes sense since it is not just the normal joe citizen that might use Apple's technology. These are people who may be high enough in business dealings or even low level government officials that having those keys on their own nation's property could be quite highly in their best interests. However, that certainly is a fair point you made.

    • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @12:36PM (#56184789) Homepage Journal

      Even the first half of your correction would have removed the sensationalism from the headline.

      But I have an alternative propsola for what Apple should do. Apple should move U.S customer accounts to China. Chinese accounts to the U.S. And then when law enforcement demands access to their citizen's data, you bury them in red tape.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @03:30PM (#56184827)

      Or, alternatively, how about "Keys for Chinese Accounts Moving to China - Easing Fears NSA Can Tap Communications"

      Chinese citizens don't fear NSA any more than Americans fear the MSS. Citizens of both countries have far more reason to fear their own governments.

      • Citizens of both countries have far more reason to fear their own governments.


        And the American spies have just as easy access to their citizen's data as the Chinese government does to their own. It's not like America has better safeguards or anything. Those days are long gone.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        In China a person would risk their job, pension, to get and stay in housing, education, ability to legally stay in a city, ability to use the internet, ability to get a new job.
        They risk jail time for online comments.

        What would the CIA and NSA do with information on a person of interest in China?
        Follow them and see what they do? A trip to Macau? Into gambling while been a Chinese official and having access to public money?
        The CIA makes an offer in Macau to anyone in Macau they think is interesting
      • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

        Pretty much.

        Spun alternatively... "China has better privacy protection laws than the US does, because they don't allow data on their citizens to be stored on foreign servers."

        Every time you see one of those sensationalized stories about Chinese apps (like Meitu) asking for your IMEI number of your phone and other seemingly irrelevant details, it's because the Chinese devs don't have access to any info stored in your Apple iStore or Google Play account info to uniquely identify you for marketing purposes, be

  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @11:46AM (#56184705)

    President Xi Jinping is making himself President for Life by removing term limits from the state constitution and and writing the snappily named "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" into the Party's one.

    China has also cracked down on dissent very strongly since Xi's rise to power, under the cover of cracking down on corruption, something China is not short of. The collective leadership and term limits that were the norm after Mao and Deng is going away and the CCP is going back to full on dictatorship.

    Which probably bodes poorly for places like Taiwan and Japan. []

    At a Central Committee plenary session in January, party leaders decided on a plan to write Xi's guiding principle into the constitution at the National People's Congress scheduled for next month. Xi will also be formally elected to his second term at the annual meeting of the rubber-stamp parliament, which opens March 5.

    The principle, entitled "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era," was added to the Communist Party's constitution last year.

    The country's constitution was first adopted in 1982 and has not been amended since 2004. Speculation that Xi might seek to stay in office past his mandate has hit a fever pitch since he unveiled a new leadership line-up in October that didn't include a clear possible heir.

    Xi, as the son of a famed Communist Party veteran, is known as a "princeling." He rose through the ranks to the position of Shanghai's party leader in 2007 before being promoted the same year to the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee. A year later, in a sign that he would succeed then-leader Hu Jintao, he was tapped to be vice president.

    Since his elevation to the presidency in 2012, Xi has overseen a wide-ranging crackdown on corruption that has helped him eliminate rivals and consolidate his grip on power.

    As commander in chief of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Xi has also been at the helm of a military modernization campaign that poured cash into the country's defense budgets while streamlining its forces.

    He has also moved to shore up his legacy, last year taking on the mantle of "core" of the party leadership, elevating him above his predecessors to a position reminiscent of communist China's founder, Mao Zedong.

    But at least one analyst said the announcement revealed weakness in the Communist Party's bid to maintain power.

    "I interpret this piece of news as evidence that the CCP is weaker and more vulnerable than thought, not strong and stable," Lyle Morris, a China expert and senior analyst at the Rand Corp., wrote on Twitter in reference to the party. "A party that allows a leader through cult and power of personality to re-write the rules of succession is not a political party confident in itself."

    • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @11:57AM (#56184725)

      China has _never_ had an era where there was a period of democracy, or of "western" values. None of what you say is new.

      Let's compare!:

      Both leaders like big military build-ups.
      Both like rich allies
      Both believe in nepotism
      Both have problems, in varying degrees, with North Korea
      Both like to fuck off and play golf
      Both are using their offices to make themselves far richer

      But I'm a skeptic, not a septic.

    • While all you septics are worry about Trump

      Here's a worry: he hasn't spoken a bad word about Russia which is actively working to undermine our democracy. What makes you think he would do anything to fend off China?

      • []

        The Pentagon is reiterating that a battle in Syria that allegedly left some number of Russian mercenaries dead was purely an act of self-defense on the part of U.S. forces. Indeed, the Pentagon still does not know exactly who it is that American forces targeted during their retaliatory strike on Feb. 7.

        "Our strikes were done out of self-defense," Pentagon chief spokesperson Dana W. White told reporters on Feb. 22. "We were very clear about that. We saw that group moving towards us. We still don't know, and I won't speculate, about the intentions or the composition of that group."

        White reiterated that the United States did everything it could do ensure that no Russian forces got caught in the crossfire in Syria. "What I can tell you is that we used our deconfliction phone line, and we used it before, during and after the strike," White said. "And we were assured by the Russians that there were no Russians involved. And so those are all of the details that I have...That was purely out of self-defense."

        The Pentagon statement contradicts a recent Bloomberg report that suggested that the White House would attempt to showcase the recent battle as an example of the Trump Administration's tough stance on Russia. A source told Bloomberg that the "Trump administration is considering citing the deaths of scores of Russian mercenaries in a Feb. 7 battle with U.S.-backed forces in Syria as evidence of the president's tough stance toward the Kremlin."

        The Bloomberg report also cited White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as making an "oblique reference" to the incident in Syria. ""He has done a number of things to put pressure on Russia and to be tough on Russia. Just last week, there was an incident that will be reported in the coming days, and another way that this president was tough on Russia," Sanders said during a press briefing.

        It is unclear exactly who was involved in the Feb. 7 battle and how many Russians actually died. Media reports have diverged wildly from paper to paper and from source to source. The best estimates for Russian mercenary casualties seem to be roughly around 40 dead and 70 wounded. "Those are figures for combined casualties, referencing 3 companies of Wagner involved in support of Syrian forces," Center for Naval Analyses research scientist Michael Kofman wrote in his personal blog. "Of these the number of PMCs [private military contractors] killed and wounded is probably more than a dozen but doubtfully exceeds 30-40."

        Both the Pentagon and the Russian government are deemphasizing the Feb. 7 incident because a wider conflict that is spiraling out of control does not benefit anyone.

  • This is news? (Score:4, Informative)

    by chromaexcursion ( 2047080 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @11:59AM (#56184727)
    The move was announced months ago. "to comply with new laws there."
    Apple could either play or go home, they decided to play.
  • China insists that the Chinese people using Apple iPhones have their iCloud data and keys in their own country.

    The US insisting the same is OK, but the Chinese doing it is "bad"?

    Can someone tell me that the US isn't doing the same thing on this side of the world? Isn't it the "right" of each country to have a say in their own citizens use and data, and to protect them and their national safety/interests without a foreign entity having more say, and/or control over their sovereign rights and citizens?

    Or am I

Where there's a will, there's a relative.