Apple Inc. is building its first data center in the Southwest Chinese province named Guizhou. The data center will contain a data center building, a transformer substation of 110 KV, and an auxiliary facility, which are expected to be fully functioning by the end of 2020. The data center is 67 hectares, or 7 million square feet and construction costs are expected to reach $1 billion! The data center is expected to be completely run via renewable energy.

Joining with Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Company, Apple has recently sped up construction on this project in hopes of an early completion. Some of this push to move the data center was due to new Chinese law that requires that data belonging to Chinese citizens and organizations be stored within the country in data centers operated by Chinese companies. There is some concern that the migration to the new data center will not only affect Chinese accounts, but also some United States accounts as well.

Many think that this new law is another form of “Big Brother” watching over everything that Chinese citizens do. This project is the first project for Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) that has required the state to own and manage the data – this is something GCBD usually does themselves. Apple will be the first large company to be building a new data center under the umbrella of the new law, whereas other large companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM were grandfathered in under earlier construction projects.

This move represents a large ethical dilemma for many users and other companies, although this move is one of a few other moves by Apple to appease the requests of the Chinese government. As reference in the below listed article “The Verge”, it is customary for Chinese police to issue warrants to other Chinese police without review by a separate court system. So, when we travel to China, is our information going to be safe?

Sources:

  1. http://www.eguizhou.gov.cn/2019-04/30/content_37464442.htm
  2. https://www.datacenterknowledge.com/apple/apples-icloud-china-set-move-state-controlled-data-center
  3. https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/28/17055088/apple-chinese-icloud-accounts-government-privacy-speed

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