back to article Apple Cook roasted for Chinese app takeaway

A pair of senior US Senators are calling out Apple CEO Tim Cook for what they call "enabling the Chinese government's censorship and surveillance of the internet." Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ted Cruz (R-Zodiac) said this week they are concerned about how quickly Apple caved to demands from the Chinese government to …

  1. Nick Z

    USA itself has a poor human rights record, both internally and even more so externally.

    https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/united-states

    The US government is literally responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and probably Syria too.

    I'd say that killing people is worse than restricting the freedom of speech. USA is in no position to criticize China on its human rights record.

    1. Death Boffin
      FAIL

      Whataboutism

      Really? The 10's of millions killed by the PRC in the revolution and Cultural Revolution beg to differ.

      "I'd say that killing people is worse than restricting the freedom of speech. USA is in no position to criticize China on its human rights record."

      That is the great thing about China, you get the best of both worlds; killing people and restricting freedom of speech. /s

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whataboutism

        >Really? The 10's of millions killed by the PRC in the revolution and Cultural Revolution beg to differ

        How many native Americans died during the colonising period? And, lets not forget, a lot of those were killed deliberately. While you are counting, look up how many times the US signed a treaty with a tribe, only to break it as soon as it becomes convenient.

        1. jpcorriveau

          Re: Whataboutism

          I hope you can see clear evidence that the current US government is less hostile to native Americans and other groups we have killed in the past, or are we all responsible for something that happened over 200 years ago ?

      2. jpcorriveau

        Re: Whataboutism

        Just what I was about to say. Unless you have lived a day in China, do not compare the USA and China as comparable on human rights.

        Even as someone who has only traveled there, it is clear the oppression of freedoms starts at the airport where it has a clearly posted sign written in English not Chinese that says 'The penalty for drug possession is death'. Clearly not wanting to upset anyone who does not speak English.

  2. Neoc
    Facepalm

    Wow..

    Double standards, much? The US Government hits the roof when Apple refuses to do something they ask, but gets incensed when Apple complies with another Government's *local* demands (these apps were only pulled in China).

    Not that I agree with ChiGov's dick move, but hey: if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to... Oh, never mind.

  3. G2
    Facepalm

    double standards.. they've heard of it.

    Pot calling kettle black, meh.

    s/China/USA/g

    s/Chinese/American/g

    s/Middle Kingdom/Uncle Sam/g

    s/Cyberspace Administration/Homeland Security/g

    and the article text remains equally valid. Here's the text after those changes:

    (<sarcasm> starts)

    Apple Cook roasted for American app takeaway

    Cruz missile targets iPhone head honcho for pulling software from shelves at Uncle Sam's behest

    A pair of senior US Senators are calling out Apple CEO Tim Cook for what they call "enabling the American government's censorship and surveillance of the internet."

    Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ted Cruz (R-Zodiac) said this week they are concerned with how quickly Apple caved to demands from the American government to remove VPN apps from its USA App Store.

    "As you know, USA has an abysmal human rights record, including with respect to the rights to free expression and free access to information, both online and offline," the open letter [PDF] to Cook read.

    The pair of legislators went on rattle off a few of the more damaging accusations against USA – specifically, its crappy record on human rights – before noting that Cook himself was recently lauded for his support of free speech as the CEO of Apple.

    Then, they proceed to bring up the incident earlier this summer, when Cook admitted that obeying to censorship demands and pulling VPN apps was just the cost of doing business.

    "While Apple's many contributions to the global exchange of information are admirable, removing VPN apps that allow individuals in USA to evade the Great Firewall and access the internet privately does not enable people in USA to 'speak up'," the letter reads.

    "To the contrary, if Apple complies with such demands from the American government it inhibits free expression for users across USA, particularly in light of the Homeland Security of USA's new regulations targeting online anonymity."

    Now, the bipartisan duo want Cook to explain himself and issue a response to 10 of their questions, including whether Apple was personally asked to pull the VPN apps by American officials, what the biz did to oppose the demands, and how the iPhone maker expressed its concerns, if any, to the American government before its latest anti-internet-freedom laws were enacted.

    Additionally, they want to know what, if anything, Apple has done to promote free speech in USA and what it has done to push for human rights and better treatment of oppressed groups on the mainland.

    So far, Apple is maintaining radio silence on the letter.

    /s

  4. David Roberts Silver badge

    Perhaps the two Senators

    Could explain what they have done about human rights abuse in China?

    Presumably at a minimum they never buy goods manufactured there but buy only USA manufactured goods.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the cost of doing business

    I read an article on El Reg yesterday about the new F35 planes from America.

    One detail said that the engines can only be overhauled in Turkey (at least for the UK bought planes).

    Erdoğan's bashing US citizens including cops on US soil (both times).... just the cost of doing business there.

  7. FIA

    Also....

    ....while you're at it, Tim, about that encryption thingy we're having trouble with......

  8. FIA

    I get they meant it as an ironic comedy bit, but....

    Additionally, they want to know what, if anything, Apple has done to promote free speech in China and what it has done to push for human rights and better treatment of oppressed groups on the mainland.

    Tim Cook is the head of a public company; a public company is there to maximise profits for it's shareholders; not to tackle social issues. THAT'S THE JOB OF POLITICIANS....

    So, what have you two done?

  9. fran 2
    Black Helicopters

    The Senators may want to revisit the Snowden revelations....

  10. MachDiamond Silver badge

    It's nothing personal

    The US requires imported automobiles to meet crash specifications. Toys have to be lead-free and meet other safety requirements. If Apple has to add or exclude things from one of it's products to sell them in China, it's just business. There are already people in China that can jail break an iPhone so non-sanctified software can be installed.

    I have to agree that the US's non-stop war in the Middle East on behalf of oil companies is problematic. Many regions went from a collection of tribes to a very wealthy oligarchy without the time to mature into in a cohesive country due to oil. If the US spent more time developing new technologies to wean itself from oil, it could completely ignore the Middle East and that region might have a chance of settling down.

  11. DukeboxDurie

    No surprise that Apple are now feeling the heat, it's been a horror show of a year for FB, Google, Twitter...... 20 years since Princess Diana died (LOL) and it's Annus Horriblis all over again!

    Annus Horribilis – 2017 Tipping Point for Tech Determinism

    http://www.netopia.eu/annus-horribilis-2017-tipping-point-tech-determinism/

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