Apple has confirmed that it keeps Chinese customer data in data centers located in China, following reports from the New York Times.
However, it was reported that it “never compromised the security” of its customers and their data.
Apple has said it is complying with Chinese law regarding data storage for its citizens.
However, one expert told the BBC that he was in fact “handing over the keys” to the Chinese government by doing so.
China has long been accused of using technology to track its citizens and for mass surveillance.
“I would have been uncomfortable recently [using Apple products] if I had been critical of the Chinese government,” said Professor Michael Posner, a former senior Obama administration official and director of the Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University. .
“I will have no confidence that there is any privacy in anything I upload to the cloud using an Apple product.”
By storing the encrypted data on servers within the country, Apple “played by Chinese rules,” he added.
Apple has said it abides by the laws of all the countries in which it has a presence.
“We retain control over the encryption keys for our users’ data, and each new data center we build gives us the ability to use Apple’s state-of-the-art hardware and security technologies to protect those keys,” the statement said.
“In addition, we handle law enforcement requests in China through the appropriate legal process, just like anywhere else, and we regularly and transparently report cases where we are forced to provide information to the user.”
In December 2020, Apple removed about 46,000 apps from the app store in China, following a deadline set by the state.
The majority were games, which require an official license to be available in the country.