Apple pulls VPN apps from Chinese App Store in compliance with government crackdown

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 51
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,398member
    designr said:
    So the "no leg to stand on" could be a bit of a stretch ...
    Actually, what I said was "...MAY not have MUCH OF a leg..." but never mind.
  • Reply 22 of 51
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,398member

    Apple needs to design a phone for the Chinese market that provides the ultimate in state security. All calls are automatically routed through government computers that record and store the call for later analysis, and random calls are actively monitored in real time. Same for texts and posts to social media. Browser activity is similarly monitored. Find My Friends is renamed Find Our Enemies and is locked on with results shown on a huge map at state security headquarters. The pro model contains a small plastic explosive charge that can be triggered to blow the head off a caller if judged to be an imminent threat. Phone comes in red only, for good luck, and party pride.
    All calls ARE routed through government-controlled phone companies and all calls are recorded and monitored. I never bring a phone or computer when I travel there.
    At least as far as non-US citizens are concerned, how is that any different from what the NSA does?
    cgWerksoseame
  • Reply 23 of 51
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,952member
    anantksundaram said:
    I still don't have a clear view on what Apple should have done here -- I still have an open mind on that -- but one thing seems obvious: the next time the issue of privacy crops up in the US (or in the EU) in a big way (e.g., as in the case of the San Bernadine terrorist), Apple may not have much of a leg to stand on. 
    Exactly! Do they actually have a position on privacy and free-speech? Or, does this depend on the government in charge? If it's the latter, then what happens when the government in their home country changes? (This is called relativism, btw, and you can't construct a moral system on it.)

    SpamSandwich said:
    All calls ARE routed through government-controlled phone companies and all calls are recorded and monitored. I never bring a phone or computer when I travel there.
    Just like in the good 'ol US of A? :) Just that it's 3rd party companies in bed with the government, to the same end.

    anantksundaram said:
    At least as far as non-US citizens are concerned, how is that any different from what the NSA does?
    What does non-US citizens have to do with it?
  • Reply 24 of 51
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,088member
    A government tells a company what it can and can't do in its country, and its citizens do nothing about it.  Nothing to read here.  Move along.
  • Reply 25 of 51
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,952member
    sflocal said:
    A government tells a company what it can and can't do in its country, and its citizens do nothing about it.  Nothing to read here.  Move along.
    The hypocrisy part is that if the USA gov't tells Apple something here in their home country, they fight tooth and nail against it.

    It's because here, they believe they have enough social power that being contrary to the government won't hurt their sales much. In China, they fear they'll lose sales or get cut off completely.

    This isn't about 'higher principals' ultimately, it's about sales. Hence the cries of hypocrisy.

    (Note: I trust Apple more when it comes to principals around privacy and such, then I do some other companies. But, that's not really saying that much, as the bar is so darn low. I think Apple tends to *design* with those principals in mind, but my hunch is that when $$$ push comes to shove, they'll bend right over rather than give up any sales.)
    edited July 2017 tallest skilgatorguy
  • Reply 26 of 51
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 849member
    I'm not sure if Apple is actually being criticized for following Chinese government-mandated regulations. No company should go into a country and try to change the government's policies. If Chinese iOS users are upset with this then they need to go out into the streets and demonstrate against their own government's policies if they have the balls to do that.  China isn't a democracy and I'm sure Apple has foreseen something like this happening.  Apple is basically a guest in that country and is subject to the whims of the government as any foreign business would be.

    I honestly can't believe that critics feel Apple should simply pull out of China and stop ALL business with China because of this 'no VPN apps' policy. I don't see how that helps anyone.  Apple would then have to abandon all current iOS hardware users and lose all the money they invested in China. That's just plain stupid. It's true Apple has to kiss Chinese butt, but it's better than losing tens of billions of dollars and loyal customers.

    Apple needs China far more than China needs Apple. Apple can't depend on Americans anymore who would just as soon buy some cheap smartphone from China and S. Korea rather than support a domestic brand.   I'm sure there must be some other way to get a VPN app on an iPhone without going through the Apple App Store.  Surely it must be possible to sideload apps on an iPhone even if it requires some jailbreak.
    Hahahaha protest in China?? You really know nothing about communism/socialism do you? Go back and study up on communist Russia. People are so blind to history nowadays. You protest those types of government and you're never heard from again. 
    Remember how USSR and east Germany fall?
  • Reply 27 of 51
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,952member

    designr said:
    At this point I don't see the hypocrisy. I'm sure Apple will say, in each case, they are following the laws of the land(s).

    In the case of China it appears to be conforming to an actual law (or at least a pending one). In the case of the US, I'm assuming you're referring to the FBI thing, they were not fighting any specific law but rather the extra-legal requests and demands of a government functionary.
    And, so far anyway, it turns out the laws in the US are less onerous than those in China.
    If you can point to where Apple has refused to comply with a law in the US, then I'd agree.
    That's the problem with laws of the land(s). You can't have principals, then, beyond, "I just always follow the laws of the lands." This, in essence, amounts to no principals at all (since laws of the lands are sometimes contradictory). However, Apple does take stands on a whole number of issues, such as privacy and various social issues. The laws of the lands, however, vary greatly on these things Apple talks about (in the US media anyway) in very grand sweeping terms, as if they are human, universal rights and ideals.

    So, how important is privacy and free-speech? Just important because, at least in theory, they are still in-place in the USA? How about when they aren't anymore? Or, what about countries like China that don't follow the same principles?

    Or, Apple is all crazy over LGBT rights, yet they have to deal with countries that throw such people off buildings. Are they just all loud and brave about it in the USA because they think that's currently popular here? Or, do they really care enough about it to take a stand where it isn't popular (like Saudi Arabia)? Are these really rights, or just government granted privileges? If an administration gets in that reverses this, will Apple follow suit?

    Or, more directly to the point... when free-speech and privacy is gone in the USA, will Apple change policy?
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 28 of 51

    Hahahaha protest in China?? You really know nothing about communism/socialism do you? Go back and study up on communist Russia. People are so blind to history nowadays. You protest those types of government and you're never heard from again. 
    And you need to go back and study the difference between socialism and communism. Conflating the two is a common canard form rightwing commentators. Protestors in Germany, France or Italy are always heard from again. 
  • Reply 29 of 51
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,088member
    cgWerks said:
    sflocal said:
    A government tells a company what it can and can't do in its country, and its citizens do nothing about it.  Nothing to read here.  Move along.
    The hypocrisy part is that if the USA gov't tells Apple something here in their home country, they fight tooth and nail against it.

    It's because here, they believe they have enough social power that being contrary to the government won't hurt their sales much. In China, they fear they'll lose sales or get cut off completely.

    This isn't about 'higher principals' ultimately, it's about sales. Hence the cries of hypocrisy.

    (Note: I trust Apple more when it comes to principals around privacy and such, then I do some other companies. But, that's not really saying that much, as the bar is so darn low. I think Apple tends to *design* with those principals in mind, but my hunch is that when $$$ push comes to shove, they'll bend right over rather than give up any sales.)
    I don't necessarily agree with you on this.  Someone protests in China and chances are good that the person will disappear mysteriously and never heard from again.

    Protest here in the US, and it will be all over the news, twitter, etc.. and the government is always trying to say "yes" to everyone, hence the chaos we have now.

    If everyone in China rose up and raided the Chinese government, there is no way the Chinese military can take them on.  Alas, it'll never happen.
  • Reply 30 of 51
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member

    Apple needs to design a phone for the Chinese market that provides the ultimate in state security. All calls are automatically routed through government computers that record and store the call for later analysis, and random calls are actively monitored in real time. Same for texts and posts to social media. Browser activity is similarly monitored. Find My Friends is renamed Find Our Enemies and is locked on with results shown on a huge map at state security headquarters. The pro model contains a small plastic explosive charge that can be triggered to blow the head off a caller if judged to be an imminent threat. Phone comes in red only, for good luck, and party pride.
    All calls ARE routed through government-controlled phone companies and all calls are recorded and monitored. I never bring a phone or computer when I travel there.
    At least as far as non-US citizens are concerned, how is that any different from what the NSA does?
    Exactly. The difference being that when a native-born Chinese person becomes an American citizen, they have our constitutionally protected rights. Americans who decide to suddenly become Chinese citizens ... well, not not so much.
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 31 of 51
    Apple will do what's best for their business not what's best for their customer, if you thought differently you have't been paying attention. But the next face off with the FBI just got a lot harder.
  • Reply 32 of 51
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,597member
    I'm not sure if Apple is actually being criticized for following Chinese government-mandated regulations. No company should go into a country and try to change the government's policies. If Chinese iOS users are upset with this then they need to go out into the streets and demonstrate against their own government's policies if they have the balls to do that.  China isn't a democracy and I'm sure Apple has foreseen something like this happening.  Apple is basically a guest in that country and is subject to the whims of the government as any foreign business would be.

    I honestly can't believe that critics feel Apple should simply pull out of China and stop ALL business with China because of this 'no VPN apps' policy. I don't see how that helps anyone.  Apple would then have to abandon all current iOS hardware users and lose all the money they invested in China. That's just plain stupid. It's true Apple has to kiss Chinese butt, but it's better than losing tens of billions of dollars and loyal customers.

    Apple needs China far more than China needs Apple. Apple can't depend on Americans anymore who would just as soon buy some cheap smartphone from China and S. Korea rather than support a domestic brand.   I'm sure there must be some other way to get a VPN app on an iPhone without going through the Apple App Store.  Surely it must be possible to sideload apps on an iPhone even if it requires some jailbreak.
    Hahahaha protest in China?? You really know nothing about communism/socialism do you? Go back and study up on communist Russia. People are so blind to history nowadays. You protest those types of government and you're never heard from again. 
    You have no clue what you are talking about regarding China. There are tens of thousands of protests there every year. I have been visiting China for the past 18 years and lived there for 6 of those. 

    This VPN thing is much ado about nothing - their battle with VPN's has been going on forever, yet even Hugh school kids I've met know how to get around the Great Firewall! Banned or censored content is readily available. For instance, Game of Thrones is heavily censored for bloody violence and sex/nude scenes but you can readily find the full version on the internet.

    BTW, China today is no more Communist than we are a real democracy!
  • Reply 33 of 51
    richware said:
    Apple will do what's best for their business not what's best for their customer, if you thought differently you have't been paying attention. But the next face off with the FBI just got a lot harder.
    Not many people in this forum would agree with that!!! That has been considered as one of the strongest points of Apple, compared to Android world. There is a strong belief with the majority of people in this forum that Apple would tame not just FBI, but anyone in the world if anyone (be it Chinese government or EU or Australian government or any other government) attempted anything (say ask Apple to deploy a backdoor in IOS for snooping) against apple's customers. Remember the discussions about 0% Privacy in Android world and 100% Privacy in iOS world??? This news seems to give a reality check on those long held beliefs!!!
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 34 of 51
    Looks like its getting aggressive day by day, What would be the deal for a authorized VPN though
  • Reply 35 of 51
    designr said:
    cgWerks said:

    designr said:
    At this point I don't see the hypocrisy. I'm sure Apple will say, in each case, they are following the laws of the land(s).

    In the case of China it appears to be conforming to an actual law (or at least a pending one). In the case of the US, I'm assuming you're referring to the FBI thing, they were not fighting any specific law but rather the extra-legal requests and demands of a government functionary.
    And, so far anyway, it turns out the laws in the US are less onerous than those in China.
    If you can point to where Apple has refused to comply with a law in the US, then I'd agree.
    That's the problem with laws of the land(s). You can't have principals, then, beyond, "I just always follow the laws of the lands." This, in essence, amounts to no principals at all (since laws of the lands are sometimes contradictory).
    I disagree. You may have to deal with or conform to laws you disagree with while trying, in one way or another, to change them. It may not be much fun, but this is the approach some chose to make. I don't think that necessarily makes them hypocrites.
    When the part highlighted is done "selectively" depending on the region/government, it does make you a "hypocrite".
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 36 of 51
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,088member
    designr said:
    sacto joe said:

    It isn’t up to Apple to tell a sovereign people how to run their country. If the people of China don’t like being censored, then it’s up to them to end it. Frankly, Apple has given the people of China far more of a chance for real freedom than I ever dreamed possible. The same can be said for the world in general.

    These sad sack opinionizers really don’t have a clue….

    I still don't have a clear view on what Apple should have done here -- I still have an open mind on that -- but one thing seems obvious: the next time the issue of privacy crops up in the US (or in the EU) in a big way (e.g., as in the case of the San Bernadine terrorist), Apple may not have much of a leg to stand on. 
    I just read an article that came to the same conclusion. The issue though is whether there is an actual law in China that requires Apple to do this. In this they will claim they are, and do, follow the laws of the countries in which they do business.
    http://www.chinalawtranslate.com/工业和信息化部关于清理规范互联网网络接入服务/?lang=en

    Sorry for the very long link but it's translated from the original Chinese. FWIW I don't see anything in the regulations (this is not a law AFAICT) specifically referring to VPN's that would ban them, much less make them illegal, but it's clear the overall intent is to claim a very broad right to regulate and track internet usage whether it be personal or corporate.

    For example it would seem private hardened internet systems used by Apple and other Western techs and labs that China until now could not access if need be will now be prohibited as I read the rules. If they want to continue using their systems to communicate with their worldwide operations they must allow monitoring and inspection of those systems to ensure they operate in the best interests of China. 

    Oh and by the way:
    Russia is following China's footsteps and putting the same general restrictions on VPN's in place so Apple will have yet another country to remove those apps from.
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 37 of 51
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,786member
    sacto joe said:

    It isn’t up to Apple to tell a sovereign people how to run their country. If the people of China don’t like being censored, then it’s up to them to end it. Frankly, Apple has given the people of China far more of a chance for real freedom than I ever dreamed possible. The same can be said for the world in general.

    These sad sack opinionizers really don’t have a clue….

    I still don't have a clear view on what Apple should have done here -- I still have an open mind on that -- but one thing seems obvious: the next time the issue of privacy crops up in the US (or in the EU) in a big way (e.g., as in the case of the San Bernadine terrorist), Apple may not have much of a leg to stand on. 
    So you're suggesting Apple can't criticize the US government's stance on privacy because they don't criticize China's? That's absurd. Apple is a US corporation, this is their home. Further, the US is a democracy where citizens are free to say what they believe without fear of reprisal, and our government is of and for its people. All entirely different than China.
  • Reply 38 of 51
    sacto joe said:

    It isn’t up to Apple to tell a sovereign people how to run their country. If the people of China don’t like being censored, then it’s up to them to end it. Frankly, Apple has given the people of China far more of a chance for real freedom than I ever dreamed possible. The same can be said for the world in general.

    These sad sack opinionizers really don’t have a clue….

    I still don't have a clear view on what Apple should have done here -- I still have an open mind on that -- but one thing seems obvious: the next time the issue of privacy crops up in the US (or in the EU) in a big way (e.g., as in the case of the San Bernadine terrorist), Apple may not have much of a leg to stand on. 
    So you're suggesting Apple can't criticize the US government's stance on privacy because they don't criticize China's? That's absurd. Apple is a US corporation, this is their home. Further, the US is a democracy where citizens are free to say what they believe without fear of reprisal, and our government is of and for its people. All entirely different than China.

    So all the Privacy talk is "applicable" ONLY to US??? And not to the rest of the world??? All the posturing about high morals/security/privacy only in US and it does NOT apply to rest of the world??? Isn't this called as "hypocrisy"????
    cgWerks
  • Reply 39 of 51
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    sacto joe said:

    It isn’t up to Apple to tell a sovereign people how to run their country. If the people of China don’t like being censored, then it’s up to them to end it. Frankly, Apple has given the people of China far more of a chance for real freedom than I ever dreamed possible. The same can be said for the world in general.

    These sad sack opinionizers really don’t have a clue….

    I still don't have a clear view on what Apple should have done here -- I still have an open mind on that -- but one thing seems obvious: the next time the issue of privacy crops up in the US (or in the EU) in a big way (e.g., as in the case of the San Bernadine terrorist), Apple may not have much of a leg to stand on. 
    Come again? How is Apple removing an app category from a certain country is akin to creating a backdoor into their OS?
  • Reply 40 of 51
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    sacto joe said:

    It isn’t up to Apple to tell a sovereign people how to run their country. If the people of China don’t like being censored, then it’s up to them to end it. Frankly, Apple has given the people of China far more of a chance for real freedom than I ever dreamed possible. The same can be said for the world in general.

    These sad sack opinionizers really don’t have a clue….

    I still don't have a clear view on what Apple should have done here -- I still have an open mind on that -- but one thing seems obvious: the next time the issue of privacy crops up in the US (or in the EU) in a big way (e.g., as in the case of the San Bernadine terrorist), Apple may not have much of a leg to stand on. 
    So you're suggesting Apple can't criticize the US government's stance on privacy because they don't criticize China's? That's absurd. Apple is a US corporation, this is their home. Further, the US is a democracy where citizens are free to say what they believe without fear of reprisal, and our government is of and for its people. All entirely different than China.

    So all the Privacy talk is "applicable" ONLY to US??? And not to the rest of the world??? All the posturing about high morals/security/privacy only in US and it does NOT apply to rest of the world??? Isn't this called as "hypocrisy"????
    Are you suggesting that Apple sells your personal data to the Chinese gov’t? What part(s) of their written privacy policy are you saying Apple is being hypocritical about in the US with the removal of the VPN app category from China?
    edited July 2017
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