Apple To Hire Local Manager In China For Data Requests

Apple is to hire a local manager in China to deal with data requests on users from the Chinese government and other authorities, potentially igniting user concerns about privacy and censorship.

The decision to hire a “head of law enforcement” in Beijing to deal with data requests from China’s government comes after Apple revealed it would for the first time begin storing the personal data of Chinese users on servers within mainland China itself. Apple said the move would result in a faster service for domestic iCloud users, but some of its competitors have refused to build data centres because of censorship and privacy concerns.

Local Manager

According to Reuters, Apple posted a job listing on the business networking site LinkedIn stating the position will handle the “increasing number of third-party requests for access to Apple controlled data within China.”

Apple reportedly declined to the comment, but pointed to its new privacy policy that includes a section on government data requests. The company says it’s not simply seeking a ‘yes man’ that will satisfy Chinese demands and says the candidate would need to “educate requesters as to the data that can and cannot be supplied in particular circumstances while maintaining good working relations with requesters.”

The job was initially posted in early August and was re-posted last week. So far, 11 applicants have applied for the position.

Growth Market

China has become an increasingly important growth market for Apple. In its latest financial earnings, Apple revealed that its revenue from China rose 28 percent to nearly $6bn (£3.5bn). Indeed, CEO Tim Cook reportedly told analysts that Apple’s Chinese performance was “honestly surprising”.

But operating within China is not without its problems. Earlier this month it was reported that Apple had become the latest Western firm to be excluded from government procurement lists, because of “security concerns,” following the Edward Snowden revelations about NSA spying.

As a result, Chinese government officials will be unable to buy Apple iPads and MacBook laptops for government projects that utilise public money. And in July Apple had to vigorously deny claims by a Chinese television broadcaster that its smartphones were a national security risk.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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