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    A few negatives to keep in mind when deciding to do business in China as a tech provider:

    1. IIRC, you’re not going to fully own the company even if you put in all the cash.

    2. They’ll do what they can to steal your I.P.

    3. Whether they steal or clone, they’ll eventually have a company that takes over the same market somehow.

    4. You’l be forced to cooperate in their efforts to spy on citizens and/or suppress dissent which recently means data over there with backdoors likely, too. You bet every major provider over there is backdoored or allows seemless requests in secret.

    If you agree to these terms, you can make a lot of money on top of a cheap labor force at least until No 3 kicks in. Maybe still after as some companies do. If you don’t agree to these terms, then No 2-3 will kick in anyway when your product is popular enough with Chinese enjoying it anyway from a company doing No 4. Is there a moral difference between the two when they look so similar? I’m not sure.

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      Not discussed here, but the next time Apple ends up in court (or the court of public opinion) needing to defend their insistence on provider-independent-security with keys for iPhones being purely in the users’ control, this will massively undermine their case.

      This has all the appearances of being a straightforward “profit over any sort of principle” decision. Lest anyone forget, Google exited the Chinese market following Operation Aurora, refusing to censor search results.

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        That’s a great point. The U.S. LEO’s would definitely make an argument that they should get access if China is.

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          Isn’t this about icloud data though, and not physical “on-device” data? Apparently the U.S. government/LEO’s already have warrant based access to this data.

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            The U.S. LEO’s would definitely make an argument that they should get access if China is.

            Gee, I wonder what “argument” they “made” to start the Five Eyes program, or to whisk Bradley Manning to torture prison without due process.

            It must have been extremely convincing. Perhaps something like: “If other countries have authoritarian regimes, why can’t we?”

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          TL;DR the biggest (AFAWK) surveillance state of the world is annoyed, because there is a cheaper Chinese copy.