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Tim Cook meets with Chinese vice premier to 'exchange views' on data security

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Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Chinese vice premier Ma Kai today, as reports circulated that Chinese authorities might be redirecting iCloud traffic within the country to a dummy site. According to a two-sentence report by the Xinhua news agency, the pair "exchanged views on protection of users' information" and "strengthening cooperation in information and communication fields." It's not clear whether the pair discussed what Apple recently confirmed as "intermittent organized network attacks" designed to collect user information by sending visitors to a copy of Apple's site. The company hasn't pinned the attacks on the Chinese government, but outside researchers have suggested that they're being carried out through the country's Great Firewall, along with similar attacks on Microsoft's Live sign-in page.

Since succeeding Steve Jobs, Cook has deepened ties between China and Apple, making his first official visit as a CEO in mid-2012. Last year, he struck a deal with China Mobile, the world's largest cell network, to sell the iPhone. The latest model was approved for sale in the country in late September and was officially released last week. While Apple has given users advice on how to avoid iCloud phishing, it was also criticized last year for voluntarily pulling apps used to circumvent the Great Firewall.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Cook isn't the only tech executive in the country. On Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited Beijing's Tsinghua University after being appointed a member of its School of Economics and Management's advisory board. He joins Cook, Ma, and a number of other major company executives who are are already on the board.