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European-Chinese Fears Rise over Cyber Sovereignty Challenges | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Apple Operations International, a subsidiary of Apple Inc, is seen in Hollyhill, Cork. Photograph: Michael MacSweeney/Reuters

London- A US approach excluding non-Americans from legal protection of digital information stored on US soil in large data centers built by multinational technology companies managed to stir major concern among European countries and China.

Associations for protecting digital privacy have begun to raise the issue in political and legal forums, especially in the European Union, warning that US authorities are limiting protection to Americans and residents.

The representatives of these associations say that “the issue is dangerous and puts to question the digital sovereignty.

They added that the concept of cyber sovereignty can only be realized through national legislations that protect it.

It is worth mentioning that the cloud computing sector began in 2006 and is growing exponentially, according to a report by Synergy Research Group, which reached over $148 billion dollars in 2016. In the United States alone, more than 50 percent of the world’s large storage centers are located.

“The European concerns are legitimate,” said a source at a cloud computing company.

Not only that, but the Chinese are aggressively seeking to settle their data on their land, and the data centers established by Alibaba intensively stand as proof to that. But it’s not that simple, because breaching privacy is a very complex matter.

In a move to counter that, China’s Guizhou province, where Apple Inc has set up its first data center in the country, plans to create a working committee chaired by communist party members to oversee the US company’s iCloud facility.

China has started to police the Internet more closely and introduced a new cyber security law on June 1 that imposes tougher controls over data than in Europe and the US, including mandating that companies store all data within China and pass security reviews.

“The provincial government has decided to form a development and coordination working committee to quicken the setting up of Apple’s iCloud project,” it said in a Chinese language statement.

Another source pointed out that US technology companies involved in cloud computing are increasing data centers in EU countries because they are fully aware of the sensitivity of this issue and do not want their actions to be held back by any sudden or unaccountable decision.