Apple has provided details about the times it has complied with the Chinese government ahead of a court battle with the US government, according to The Financial Times.
The newspaper states that Apple has agreed to a number of government requests in China, including using China-based data centres and incorporating a Chinese Wi-Fi standard. Accommodating the Chinese government in this way raises questions about Apple’s privacy policies outside the US, the FT writes.
Responding to the accusations in a document filed with a US court on Tuesday, Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software engineering, said: “Apple has never made user data, whether stored on the iPhone or in iCloud, more technologically accessible to any country’s government.
“It is my understanding that Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a ‘backdoor’ in any of our products or services,” he continued.
Federighi didn’t go as far as to say that user data had never been accessible by any foreign government.
Federighi also said Apple had never shared the iPhone source code with any government.
Apple published the court documents ahead of its court hearing next week in a case brought by the FBI. The FBI wants Apple to help it unlock the iPhone of Syed Farook, who was one of the gunmen in the San Bernardino shootings.
In the documents, Apple aims to “address concerns” about the times when it has agreed to demands made by the Chinese government. Apple’s lawyers write that Apple’s Chinese servers store fully-encrypted data that can only be unlocked with an encryption key that’s held in the US. They also claim that the servers are in China to reduce the lag-time, or latency, for Apple customers in China.
Apple began storing Chinese users’ data on local servers in China in 2014, according to the FT.
During the first half of last year, the Chinese government reportedly asked Apple for data on over 4,000 devices. In the US, Apple reportedly received over 9,000 requests over the same timeframe.