When Apple Inc. AAPL 1.74% next week begins shifting the iCloud accounts of its China-based customers to a local partner’s servers, it also will take an unprecedented step for the company that alarms some privacy specialists: storing the encryption keys for those accounts in China.
The keys are complex strings of random characters that can unlock the photos, notes and messages that users store in iCloud. Until now, Apple has stored the codes only in the U.S. for all global users, the company said, in keeping with its emphasis on customer privacy and security.
While Apple says it will ensure that the keys are protected in China, some privacy experts and former Apple security employees worry that moving the keys to China makes them more vulnerable to seizure by a government with a record of censorship and political suppression.
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