Following New York Times news, Apple has stated that it is storing Chinese customers’ data in Chinese data centers.
It did, however, state that it had “never compromised the protection” of its customers or their data.
Apple claimed that it was following Chinese law in terms of data storage for its people.
However, one analyst told the BBC that by doing so, it was effectively “handing over the keys” to the Chinese government.
China has long been accused of mass surveillance and using technology to monitor its people.
“I would have been uncomfortable using Apple products a long time ago if I was critical of the Chinese government,” said Prof Michael Posner, a former Obama administration official and director of New York University’s Centre for Business and Human Rights.
“I would have no faith that anything I put up on the cloud using an Apple product is private.”
Apple was “playing by Chinese law” by storing encrypted data on servers within the country, he added.
Apple stated that it complied with all laws in all countries where it has a presence.
“We maintain control of the encryption keys for our users’ data, and any new data center we create gives us the opportunity to secure those keys with Apple’s most cutting-edge hardware and security technologies,” the company said in a statement.
“In addition, we manage law enforcement requests in China through the proper legal procedure, just as we do everywhere else, and we routinely and transparently report instances where we are compelled to provide user information.”
Following a state-imposed deadline, Apple pulled approximately 46,000 applications from its China App Store in December 2020.
The majority of them were games that needed an official license to be available in the country.
In 2019, Google abandoned a proposal to introduce a censored version of its search engine in China, citing internal staff criticism.