Amnesty International has launched a bitter attack on Apple, claiming that the tech giant is betraying its Chinese customers over privacy rights.
The non-governmental organisation has accused Apple of “recklessly making their personal data vulnerable to the arbitrary scrutiny of the Chinese government.”
On Wednesday, Amnesty announced that it’s to launch a new social media campaign “targeting Apple over its betrayal of millions of Chinese iCloud users.”
It notes that, last month, Apple hired Guizhou-Cloud Big Data to manage Chinese of iCloud services. However, Amnesty believes that this decision could mean that China’s government has easier access to people’s data.
Amnesty said the move “affects any photos, documents, contacts, messages and other user data and content that Chinese users store on Apple’s cloud-based servers”.
To respond to this, Amnesty is calling on consumers to urge Apple boss CEO Tim Cook to “reject double standards when it comes to privacy for Chinese customers.”
It said their “personal data is now at risk of ending up in the hands of the government.” The campaign takes design cues from Apple’s iconic ‘1984’ advert with an Orwellian theme.
Coinciding with Tim Cook’s visit to China this week, the poster says “‘All Apple users are equal but some are less equal than others.”
Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International, said that Apple needs to take urgent action to ensure that the Chinese Government doesn’t snoop on iCloud users.
“Tim Cook is not being upfront with Apple’s Chinese users when insisting that their private data will always be secure. Apple’s pursuit of profits has left Chinese iCloud users facing huge new privacy risks,” he said.
“Apple’s influential ‘1984’ ad challenged a dystopian future, but in 2018 the company is now helping to create one. Tim Cook preaches the importance of privacy but for Apple’s Chinese customers’ these commitments are meaningless. It is pure doublethink.”
He slammed Apple for choosing Guizhou-Cloud to manage its cloud storage platform due to a lacklustre approach to cyber security.
Bequelin added: “By handing over its China iCloud service to a local company without sufficient safeguards, the Chinese authorities now have potentially unfettered access to all Apple’s Chinese customers’ iCloud data. Apple knows it, yet has not warned its customers in China of the risks.”