Daily Mail, Read original news here
A new website shows how much Apple allows the Chinese government to censor what people are allowed to download from the iOS App Store.
The site was created by the non-profit organization GreatFire, which monitors what websites are censored in China and teaches users how to circumvent internet censorship.
Applecensorship.com works by searching an app, seeing which ones are blocked in China, and comparing the results to 150 other countries.
A new website shows how much Apple allows the Chinese government to censor what people are allowed to download from the iOS App Store. Pictured: Pedestrians walk past an Apple store entrance in Shanghai on Tuesday, January 29
In addition to several virtual private network (VPN) apps that cannot be accessed, many Western news apps are also blocked including The New York Times, Radio Free Asia and Voice of Tibet, reported The Intercept.
The latter two are likely because Tibet is an autonomous region of China, but the Chinese government still claims sovereignty over the area.
This censorship extends to Google’s search app and the Bitter Winter app, a magazine about religious liberty and human rights in China, according to The Intercept.
On Friday, GreatFire announced the release of the website on Twitter, writing: ‘Our newest project, built for human rights defenders around the world, shines a light on Apple by monitoring censorship in over 150 App Stores.
‘Apple has hardly been forthcoming when it comes to censorship – now the balance of power has shifted.’
In an earnings call in August 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook defended the decision to remove many VPN apps from the iOS App Store at the request of the Chinese government.
The site was created by the non-profit organization GreatFire, which monitors what websites are censored in China and teaches users how to circumvent internet censorship
Applecensorship.com works by searching an app, seeing which ones are blocked in China, and comparing the results to 150 other countries
‘We would obviously rather not remove the apps, but like we do in other countries we follow the law wherever we do business,’ he said.
‘We strongly believe participating in markets and bringing benefits to customers is in the best interest of the folks there and in other countries as well.
‘We believe in engaging with governments even when we disagree. This particular case, we’re hopeful that over time the restrictions we’re seeing are lessened, because innovation really requires freedom to collaborate and communicate.’
However, last year, Apple transferred the iCloud service in China to a Chinese company called Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Development Co, Ltd.
The Intercept reported that Apple says it holds the encryption key so that the Communist Party cannot access user data including messages, photos, documents and contacts.
But human rights groups, including Amnesty International, there is not enough protection to restrict the access of the Chinese government to user data.
‘By handing over its China iCloud service to a local company without sufficient safeguards, the Chinese authorities now have potentially unfettered access to all Apple’s Chinese customers’ iCloud data,’ Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.
‘Apple knows it, yet has not warned its customers in China of the risks.’