Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
China Censorship Government Iphone Privacy Software Apple

Apple Pulls Anti-Censorship Apps from China's App Store (fortune.com) 108

An anonymous reader quotes Fortune:Services helping Chinese users circumvent the "Great Firewall of China" have been pulled from Apple's Chinese App Store en masse. On Saturday morning, at least some software makers affected by the sweep received notification from Apple that their tools were removed for violating Chinese law. Internet censorship in China restricts communications about topics including democracy, Tibetan freedom, and the 1989 Tienanmen Square protests. The culling primarily seems to have affected virtual private networks, or VPNs, which mask users' Internet activity and data from outside monitoring. According to a report by the New York Times, many of the most popular such apps are now missing from the Chinese App Store.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Pulls Anti-Censorship Apps from China's App Store

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is the Apple way. Whether hiding taxes or helping repressive regimes, whatever Apple needs to boost profits, Apple will do. And Google, too. And Microsoft. And...

    • by bjwest ( 14070 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @08:44PM (#54906507)
      Take a look at how much of that useless crap you own is made in China. A good portion of the U.S. economy -- your paycheck included -- goes to that repressive regime.
      • by myid ( 3783581 )

        Take a look at how much of that useless crap you own is made in China. A good portion of the U.S. economy -- your paycheck included -- goes to that repressive regime.

        I try hard not to buy stuff that's mad in China. If I can find a brand that's made in another country (preferably the US), I'll get that brand, even if I have to pay more for it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jbn-o ( 555068 )

        That's actually a non-sequitur but you offer it as if it were a proper response to the point the grandparent post made. That's no justification for Apple's choices. Be it employing Foxconn, a firm with worker labor standards so low they installed suicide nets on the building outer wall after a spate of worker suicides came to public attention, or Pegatron which seemed to have lower standards than Foxconn, forbidding recycling extractable & usable spare parts from old computers, freeing the source code t

      • A good portion of the U.S. economy -- your paycheck included -- goes to that repressive regime.

        Not me! I work at the dollar store!

        (seriously, a lot of stuff at the dollar stores is NOT made in China)

        • (seriously, a lot of stuff at the dollar stores is NOT made in China)

          which dollar store? I don't think I've ever seen anything at dollar tree which wasn't made in china, except the occasional pullback that they stock instead of letting it go to grocery outlet. I stopped shopping there eventually (some years ago) as everything stinks, literally. It's all cheap, nasty, rapidly offgassing plastic.

          • It's Dollarama, in Canada.

            I agree, some aisles do stink of offgassing plastic/etc but most of the food comes from Canada, U.S.A., europe, etc. I'd say only about 25~33% of the non-plastic items come from somewhere else than China. But even for the plastic items, a lot come from Canada and the U.S.A.

            • It's Dollarama, in Canada.

              Well, I find the whole subject distasteful at best, but I bet if you do the math there are virtually zero of those stores compared to the mass of dollar tree and dollar general stores. Ugh, okay, I'll fucking look. And a-yup. There's over twenty times as many dollar tree and dollar general stores (put together) as dollarama stores. Virtually all dollar store stuff is from China.

      • Check out how things have actually gotten better for the 20% of the human race who lives under that repressive regime, thanks to americans buying their stuff. Would you rather they starve, or repeat the cultural revolution? Torture 20% of humanity in order to make a political point?

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Weird, the rest of us outside of the USA see the USA as being equally repressive.

        You have the highest prison population per capita in the world, and many of the prisons are forced labour institutions.

        You have elected a sexual predator to be president, and go look at how corrupt he is, how many tens of millions of dollars he funnels into his own bank account by staying in his own properties, yes you stupid tax payers pay Trump for all those bodyguards etc etc etc to stay there. Of course he does not like the

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If I had mod points I would mod you up. The US is a nation founded on the back of violence, the murderous forced removal of natives from their lands and black slavery. They have zero moral high ground.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            And what's the history of your third world banana republic?

            Get back to us when you live in an angelic country with no history of anything bad.

            Good luck with that.

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
          Far be it from me to defend the US, but you know what the biggest difference between the US and China is? In the US, you're allowed to say what you just said. Try saying something like that about China, in China. Dumbass.
  • Not to put too fine a point on it, but doesn't the U.S. have laws that make it illegal to comply with demands like that? If not, why not?

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @08:23PM (#54906443)

      We aren't at war with China, obviously. So how, exactly, would imposing the wartime rules you're thinking about work?

      When you're in a country - your own, or someone else's - you are expected to obey their laws. If you choose to disobey them for any reason, you should do so knowing that the country will probably punish you if they catch you.

      Seriously - how would it go over if the US arbitrarily said "other countries' laws do not apply to our citizens"?

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        How would would it if "the US arbitrarily said "other countries' laws do not apply to our citizens", well apparently they accept it under threat of nuclear strike and genocide of their population. Is it quite legal as far as US law is concerned for US agents to break any law they care too in foreign countries and in point of fact, you in a foreign country report US agents breaking the law in your country and report it to the public, they consider you an espionage agent and will seek to prosecute you ie Juli

      • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @11:07PM (#54906923) Homepage

        Everything you said made sense. And yet I fear the world where any company will roll over and submit the moment the government wants something. A lot of modern rule of law is based on the assumption that a private entity like say your phone company has records and the government needs a warrant to see it. Whether that system is officially broken like in China or unofficially broken like with the NSA in the US, it's getting to the point where you should just assume any information given to any organization for any reason whatsoever is stored and passed to the government willingly or unwillingly. And since most of us have embraced civilization and is dependent on trade to survive it's pretty hard to avoid. It's depressing.

      • Indeed. Many of the comments here seem to think the rest of the world is some sort of US colony.

        US companies frequently have to censor things in various countries in order to adhere to local laws which are less liberal than those in the US. Facebook, Twitter, youtube, etc. all have special country-specific censorship in order to deal with government requests to block content. Germany particularly has stricter laws on threats and Nazi propaganda which end up being enforced by US companies on a regular basis.

        • by Zumbs ( 1241138 ) on Sunday July 30, 2017 @07:48AM (#54907965) Homepage

          Indeed. Many of the comments here seem to think the rest of the world is some sort of US colony.

          US companies frequently have to censor things in various countries in order to adhere to local laws which are less liberal than those in the US. Facebook, Twitter, youtube, etc. all have special country-specific censorship in order to deal with government requests to block content. Germany particularly has stricter laws on threats and Nazi propaganda which end up being enforced by US companies on a regular basis.

          Indeed. And US companies often censor things in order to adhere to US culture, even if the local culture is more liberal than US culture. For instance Facebook and Apple routinely censor tits in Denmark even though they are not compelled to do so by Danish law or Danish culture.

        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by Rockoon ( 1252108 )
          The lefts "view" of China is so fucked up.

          They decry oppression and then decry the capitalism that is rapidly alleviating most of it.

          Every country that has industrialized has gone through growing pains. The people that migrate to the factories were literally subsistence farming the previous day.

          The suicide rates at Chinese factories that the left went ape-shit over just a few years ago... has never been as high as the suicide rate on American college campuses.

          Today they are going ape shit over Trum
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      doesn't the U.S. have laws that make it illegal to comply with demands like that? If not, why not?

      Because it would be bad for big business.

    • doesn't the U.S. have laws that make it illegal to comply with demands like that?

      No. We do not, and should not.

      If not, why not?

      It is none of our business and would be ineffective and unenforceable. America is not going to "fix" China. That is up to the Chinese people.

      One of the reasons that Liu Xiaobo was so ineffective is that he was viewed by many Chinese as a Western sycophant. Reform in China may work better if outsiders keep their noses out of it.

      • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @09:34PM (#54906655) Homepage

        It is none of our business and would be ineffective and unenforceable. America is not going to "fix" China. That is up to the Chinese people.

        Agreed; OTOH where should we draw the line regarding American companies assisting the Chinese government's abuse of their citizens? e.g. If China had a law on the books demanding that Apple immediately report any private message that mentioned democracy, so that the sender and receiver could be jailed and tortured, would it be morally acceptable for Apple to comply with that law?

        IIRC IBM willingly assisted the Nazis with the IT tasks necessary for their roundup and attempted genocide of European Jews and other minorities, and IBM was rightfully criticized afterwards for having done so. How can we avoid a repeat of that sort of thing?

        • IIRC IBM willingly assisted the Nazis with the IT tasks necessary for their roundup and attempted genocide

          That is very misleading. During the war, IBM's German subsidiary operated independently, and was outside the control of both IBM's HQ, and American law.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Not true. IBM was sending employees once a month to repair and maintain the machines. The arguement that they didn't know what their customer was doing with their machine doesn't fly because they continued the maintainence schedule!

        • Do you not realize that Apple has already changed China? Keep in mind that millions of Chinese citizens are using iMessage encryption to have communication that their government cannot read. The use of these apps is another good example.
    • by phayes ( 202222 )

      You"re seriously proposing that the U.S. should have laws that force a U.S. company to sell software to citizens of another country that has been deemed illegal by their government?!?! You _do_ know that that doing so would be reciprocal with other countries being able to impose upon U.S. citizens, right?

      If you're proposing that the U.S. be able to impose their laws unilaterally upon foreign countries, by what right?

      As you're the one proposing to upset the current status of international relations, _you_ ar

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Psalms 115:15, “Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.”

    Look at our amazing sun, dwarfed in comparison to the size of other stars. The Science Channel has been airing a very popular DISCOVERY mini-series of programs called, “HOW THE UNIVERSE WORKS!” I've watched the series, including the expanded edition, and it's some of the most Godless, offense, unscholarly and retarded speculation I've ever heard and seen in my life! They ou

  • IOS and now iOS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by seoras ( 147590 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @08:38PM (#54906493)

    The original "great firewall" was built by Cisco for the Chinese government who then rewarded Cisco by setting up Huawei to compete directly against them.
    It's all down to money, if you want to sell in that country you have to abide by their laws.
    The Five Eyes [wikipedia.org] are putting visible pressure on their governments to crack open encryption and provide back doors.
    That'll be the real test for Apple, will they stand up to FVEY & it's governments or will they buckle?
     

    • Re:IOS and now iOS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Saturday July 29, 2017 @08:46PM (#54906513)

      It's all down to money, if you want to sell in that country you have to abide by their laws.

      And that's the way it is in most countries.

      But more to the point, when the general consensus even here at Slashdot is that the primary duty of any shareholder owned company is to maximize profits, should this be any surprise?

      As long as corporate law does not define some non-abstract requirement to be beneficial to society - and what does that mean, anyway? To me one thing, to the Chinese, another - than what is done with one's products is of no consequence.

      Zyklon B, anyone?

      • Zyklon B, anyone?

        Zyklon B is small potatoes in this context. Try slave labor used by some German corporations during WWII.

      • Most if not all those story about pulling app or stopping software is solely about china censorship laws. Going to the crime against humanity was unnecessary for the argument.
  • by myid ( 3783581 ) on Saturday July 29, 2017 @08:56PM (#54906553)

    I'm glad Tim Cook is trying to protect the environment, and that he's trying to avoid using conflict minerals [cnn.com]. But I wish he'd stop making things in China, as long as China's government was so repressive. I also wish he wouldn't invest [qz.com] in Chinese companies, or build a "new research and development center" [reuters.com] there.

    Suppose Xi Jinping repressed only people of a certain race, or only gay people. That would be outrageous discrimination. But since Xi severely limits the freedom of all of his citizens, that's not "discrimination" - it's just "unfortunate". However, it's not unfortunate enough to stop doing business there. (I'm talking about all American companies that do business there, not just Apple.)

    I'm very glad to read about the Apple-related manufacturing plants that will be built in India and the US. I hope this is the start of a trend away from manufacturing in China.

  • ....letting that huge market get in the way of their alleged principles.

  • As in, is the app suddenly removed for the installed base as well?

  • IBM took a lot of Flak for assisting nazi Germany back in the thirties. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    IMHO, if IBM were to blame, the same principle applies to all companies doing business with totalitarian regimes, like China, Iran, and Saudi-Arabia. These companies aid the regimes suppressing their citizens, for profit. The right thing to do for anyone believing in democracy and human rights, is to boycott Apple and others.

  • For giving in, to the Communist Chinese. See what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket? They pretty much "make everything". Piss off the Chinese, and all of a sudden there will be production delays, shipping delays on Apple products.

It is much harder to find a job than to keep one.

Working...