'Starting February 28th 2018, iCloud in the mainland of China will be operated by Chinese internet services company GCBD. This will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of iCloud and comply with Chinese regulations.'
I suspect this is not good.
You can register for the USA (or UK, EU, etc) icloud or you can separately register for the Chinese iCloud.
It only affects updates and purchases and should theoretically make iCloud china less susceptible to China's great firewall clobbering.
I use both and it's merely annoying as some apps were purchased in China using my chinese iCloud ID, most everything else purchased from the USA iCloud account. So I have to upgrade some apps with one account, logout and then upgrade the other apps with the Chinese iCloud account.
@michael: Ok, I don't really know how it works, that but doesn't sound so bad.
I use both accounts, but NEVER check email on my Chinese account.
It's merely annoying. Some apps - only available from the Chinese APP store...hence dual accounts. But...at least everything works as advertised.
Unlike the poor guy who recently discovered he has to pay to change his OS from Chinese to English...that's gotta suck.
Potentially this new setup foisted on Apple will make it easier to block access to services provided to non-China based IDs. And if the clampdown on VPNs promised from March 1st turns into reality, then basically we will be unable to download app updates, system updates for OSX and iOS, mail and app related data. Before anyone proffers the work around of a China based Apple ID - don't, until you've thought it through, and then you'll realise it is unrealistic.
It'll be a Yahoo divulge your emails scenario all over again. Gov can now just get access to any Chinese apple users text, data, emails.
Your options if your an Apple user.
You DO realize that most free public emails have unfettered access to your emails for commercial purposes, right?
Google et al scan your emails and your web searches for keywords, which helps them target ads and news articles at you. Google et al were also recently fined by the EU (NOT the USA) for developing cookies which would crawl and grab information from all the other cookies in your browser history - effectively covertly spying on YOU, without your conscious knowledge or implicit approval - hence the plethora of those popup cookie windows on most EU-centric websites these days...in case you wondered why...but probably not.
The USA's NSA & FBI program allegedly used a system of applications called PRISM, which, like google, surf the internet for keywords to help filter and target their investigations. Obama spouted verbal diarrhea when he told the EU that the US data collection systems is a "well circumscribed, narrow..." system. By it's nature, it's an all encompassing system, which depends on the legality, morality, and ethics of the covert and NOT transparent government users, which as we've seen time and again, without transparency, is raw sewage.
This "thing" about net neutrality - it's been an illusion for decades.
if you think you're safe on your password protected WIFI or internet - ANYONE can drop a network sniffer on any network connection and basically see EVERY piece of unencrypted traffic from anywhere to 250+ to 65k+ of your neighbors on the same fiber/pipe. If they were really motivated, they could also drop what is called a "man in the middle" attack to spoof your bank, your secure email, and track all of your allegedly secure email traffic.
ANYONE savvy enough can also sniff the MAC (hardware machine encoded ID) of each and every device visible on my segment of pipe - and now I know your internet patterns, trends, etc.
This is essentially what google does every microsecond of every day of every year.
Google has zero social responsibility in their alleged claims for net neutrality and an unmanaged internet - their huffing and puffing - it's pure bluster hiding a rather reprehensible and irresponsible hands-off attitude to the internet.
The reason I jump all over google - they left China under the public crap of net neutrality. If you look back in history - you'll discover that the NSA mandated ATT et al, in the USA, turn over ALL of their traffic and they'll decide what's important and what's not - with a rather flaccid and limpid governmental oversight for "transparency".
Just a thought - in case you use gmail and are a fan of their FAKE NEWS net neutrality diarrhea.
Your net freedoms have been and always will be an illusion and it's really quite a simple matter to spy on you, using off the shelf software.
So...why worry? Your biggest fears - they're already here and you've been mostly operating under these alleged net oppressions for quite some time.
The government's move - can't even begin to ponder the complexity of reasons related to their responsibility for managing a nation of 1.4 billion people.
And in closing this ludicrously long response - the USA currently and since 2000's - have been buying over USD 100 BILLION a year in illegal drugs. Allegedly over USD 1 BILLION a year of that slice goes to Iran's state sponsored terrorist organization, Hezbollah. The USA's war on drugs and terror - with it's NSA spying, CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland security - utterly impotent.
If they can't even dent a USD 100 BILLION a year criminal enterprise - why would you think they can do anything with their violations of net neutrality - aside from political weaponization.
Oh...and Hezbollah - the FBI was investigating their operations, working their way up to the alleged kingpins and heads - but Obama terminated the investigation so Iran would sign his "no nukes" piece of used waste toilet paper deal.
The reason I brought that left-field USA case study into the fray - if the USA is budgeting this stuff - you can bet your grandma every other developed nation in the world is also submitting budget for similar systems, covertly.
So, iCloud shifting their China servers to China...not really that big a deal, in my personal opinion. Should actually help prevent blocking, as opposed to increase blocking, for the China iCloud users. Kudos to Apple for the transparency. They COULD have just done this covertly and you'd have NEVER known.
As for "fear" of the unknown - the analogy is - for those with a fear of flying, you've been on this airborne airplane for the last 20 years...
@michael: interesting post. But why should iCloud shift to China help PREVENT blocking (within China, at any rate)? Surveillance everywhere, yeah, I'm sure, but... - granted that those who survey can also prevent, but if surveillance is everywhere...do you mean it's better to get surveilled/blocked/not-blocked by multiple spypigs rather than just one?...not sure I've understood you.
Anyway, seems there's not much to do about it, except honor those like Snowden & anybody else clever enough to blow covers and/or sneak us by... or maybe just stay off the internet when you're doing or saying anything important (which, for most of us, is rare)... & even then, detectivepigs are notoriously clever, as any CSI portrayal can illustrate.