Of course, I get that. But it's always companies like Apple that make so much noise about social justice who don't stick to their guns when China's involved.
Or would you rather have them not "make so much noise" about social justice?
Furthermore, don't let Chinese companies trade on US exchanges if they participate in human rights abuses.
Everyone knows what the Chinese government is doing strategically with leveraging access to their markets in exchange for control and forced tech transfer. Other countries are well within their moral rights to insist upon a quid pro quo... or else do the same to Chinese companies (who are just starting to reach scales where international expansion is as important to them as domestic).
If Apple isn't in China, that doesn't mean that nobody will be able to sell iPhones in China. That just means that Apple won't be selling iPhones in China. But someone, somewhere will still be importing iPhones into China, and people will buy them, and people will associate the resulting product experience with Apple. Those people will then blog about that experience, putting their perceptions on the world stage, where people in other countries' perceptions of the product can be affected by that conversation.
Which means that, if Apple has no Chinese app-store, then people in America will end up thinking worse of Apple. The American zeitgeist will be touched by Chinese-Americans who read Chinese-language blogs written by people living in China, where the experience of having an iPhone will suck because Apple "doesn't support China."
And it's not really moral high ground if you're taking it through no cost to yourself.
Apple has shown the willingness to compromise to access the Chinese market, so there's absolutely no reason to believe that they wouldn't or haven't bow to their other demands, including the weakening of their device security.
If I were Chinese I'd be feeling pretty damn patronized if someone told me they were taking my iPhone away and I should be happy about it.
No. You just have to reform your government or leave your country, then you can have it back. I know that this isn't likely, but putting more pressure on the CCP is exactly what Apple could be doing here.
(Edit: The sibling comment thread already goes into detail on this idea.)
"As we have stated before, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about."
It is perhaps notable that Apple is not trying to hide or deny this removal of VPN apps (not that they could really do that effectively). As long as Apple is open about its policies, then we have our clear dividing line (and it would be unreasonable to expect Apple to think of every conceivable future technological/policy question in advance).
Still, this is assuming that we can trust Apple to admit its policies, and moreover to consistently follow them, which even governments seem to have trouble doing. It would be nice to instead have technological ecosystems where end users and citizens didn't have to trust the policies and promises of powerful organisations.
Is there any reason for them to not automatically generalize this to "...with any entity from any country"? I'm wondering about a case where a government agency hides behind some other veil and makes Apple insert some backdoor.
Either you are successful, and then the rules are changed to disadvantage you further. Or you're unsuccessful because of the rules. Lose / lose.
They already demonstrated they cannot compete without help from the government. It's an inferior product that can only succeed because the better competitors are banned. Kind of like iPhone default browser.
Also I'm pretty that Google isn't a nobody in "The East", The East is much more than just mainland China.
The two companies are very different.
Apple is not aspirational in China today: they are already making a lot of money there. Leaving China would cause an immediate shock to its stock price as well as a huge cut in actual profits.
I was an engineer on Google's web search indexing system for 4 years (including the Aurora attack), leaving shortly before Google's China exit. I listened to several talks by the head of Google China, who came from Baidu.
Even before the Aurora attack, as a matter of national pride, we knew the very best Google could hope for was 30% or 40% market share in China. Even France funded one or two attempts at a Francophone Google killer. I can't imagine the U.S. looking at a dominant search company based out of anywhere except North America (or perhaps the Anglophone Five Eyes) and not butting up significant nationalistic barriers.
Google was hoping to make profits, but they knew they would never be dominant. This made their exit much easier.
If Google was serious about China, they would have had a more obscure non-Google-branded name for their Chinese joint venture and would have branded their front page much differently. The reasons would take a large post, but Chinese web pages tend to be much more "busy", and Chinese language searches have a much higher percentage of "navigational searches". (If you search for [Facebook], you're almost certainly just trying to just get a link to facebook.com, and are basically using the search engine like a bookmark page.) I understand Google's need for a consistent U.I., but they really should have had a non-Google-branded U.I. that was better suited to the Chinese market.
Their phones are made many places. Lately in Taiwan and Korea.
There's an ancient Chinese story where a farmer criticizes an official who exiled himself because the government is corrupt. As the fisherman departs he sings: "when the water of the river is clean I wash my hat in the river, when the waters are dirty I wash my feet in the river". What good can the virtuous official do living out in the mountains? Instead you should adapt your participation to the conditions of the playing field.
I don't see how they could have stayed in China and not been involved in things that are truly evil. When the government phones you up and tells you to hide search results related to babies dying from diluted baby formula (yes, this happened), could you in good conscience tell one of your engineers to add that filter? How could a company like Google possibly retain good people when they have to ask them to do the bidding of such an evil government?
Google could spend eternity fighting this until the government changes (ha), or pull our and upload their value of organizing the world's information without* censorship.
In your eyes, they are more evil for not bringing their products to China, in their eyes, they are more noble for making their anti-censorship* stance loud and clear.
Apple in this case can be viewed as doing good (assuming having an iPhone and access to Apple's stuff is good for people) or as putting money over censorship values. It's all about which angle to look from.
The world isn't hurting for search engines, mail providers or luxury smartphones. Maybe Google decided that fighting the Chinese government is not the right battle and allowing direct censorship is not a value they are willing to compromise on even if it means losing access to several millions of users
*Yeah, filter bubbles exist and Google controlling search results and ads can be viewed as evil but that's a different conversation.
Here's some factors that could be a guide: What do the citizens themselves want? Is the boycott merely symbolic, or is it linked to other boycotts and pressure across a wide front, so that it is liable to have the desired outcome? Are the boycotters committed to long term pressure, publicity, and engagement with stakeholders in the other country?
Former Google engineer here. There's a subtle but significant semantic difference between "Don't be evil" (the real motto) and "Do no evil" (a confusion between the Hippocratic oath and the Google motto).
What I'm mostly interested in is how you can rationalize doing evil while not considering yourself as being evil. Is it based on the idea that you might do evil unintentionally or that you could be coerced into it? Are there other reasons for the distinction?
Do no evil = "No, we are not going to torture these prisoners of war, period."
Don't be evil = "It's OK to waterboard them a little if they deserve it. Remember, we are the good guys, we're here to help."
(See also: rationale for the My Lai Massacre. Very similar thinking, it's possible to excuse awful things when you're the hero(es) of your own (indoctrinated) narrative.)
One question: do they - Chinese people - even care? It's not exactly "good" - whatever Google could have done in such an environment - if you try to force it on an unwilling crowd.
Leave the apps in the app store and make the government make the next move.
They're fucking Apple, they can do a lot to help finally topple that mess. It's something that needs to happen in my lifetime, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a company who otherwise trumpets about social justice to be a part of it.
Really the big problem here are the constraints imposed on publicly traded companies, which I think do more harm than good in many cases.
So what’s Apple’s response? Close factories? That would disrupt their supply chain for years, potentially collapsing the company. All the cash in the world can’t retool and rebuild a factory overnight.
If anyone cares about this situation “for real,” you’d boycott every single Chinese made product because by owning a Chinese product, YOU are a hypocrite. You can’t expect Apple to stop selling to China if you aren’t willing to stop buying from China.
While you’re at it, stop buying from Mexico because elements of the government facilitate the execution of reporters. Don’t buy from Indonesia because they give the death penalty for minor drug offenses. Find me a country and I can find you something about which to be outraged. Even the “progressive” EU has enacted or attempted to enact laws abridging free speech. You can’t even print the word Nazi in Germany without facing potential criminal charges. As horrible as Nazis and neo-Nazis are, censoring their speech is STILL a violation of human rights. Free speech isn’t just that with which you agree, but it’s the expression of ideas – regardless of how detestable they may be. Germany sees Nazi speech as a threat to public order and perhaps they are correct, but in the same vein, China sees talk of Tiananmen or other such topics as threats to their public order. Should Google, Facebook and Apple pull outmoded Germany? Because it’s the exact same thing. We just happen to agree with censoring Nazi speech while we disagree with censoring “democracy-speech.” Both are censorship applied by a government due to a real or perceived threat to their systems.
Plenty of people here were willing to boycott US states over bathroom laws yet almost every single one of you has something you own made in China – a country with far bigger human rights issues than the hole in which one pees.
While pointing fingers at Apple, one ought to be pointing fingers at oneself as well.
That’s only one interpretation of human rights.
Similar to bullying, it doesn't work when the target can fight back. Sanction based actions just seem like bullshit to me and is actually exactly what China wants. It gives space for domestic equivalents to grow. (the trick is to having your self created monopoly not rot is to keep it in its toes)
China for better or worse is becoming (is) a global power. It's the only country that is managing efficiently at its scale so criticisms fall flat. It's great for western indignation for them to feel-good about themselves. The realization that the previous bullying is no longer working creates the same sense of desperation and grasping for relevance that trump supporters have.
I'd rather the market make the decisions. Not because they don't have failure points but because they organically create understanding through mixing of values. The non-organic too down forcing of value systems doesn't work unless one party can effectively bully the other.
Start building factories elsewhere. Help put together a similar manufacturing ecosystem in a different country. Automate their manufacture so much that it no longer matters if labor is done in China.
If Apple paid an extra 10-20% to locate factories elsewhere and started pulling out of China, it would be a gigantic hit to China while being only a 20% hit to Apple. And Apple could threaten China instead of China threatening Apple. And China wouldn't dream of making these kinds of requests again.
Apple has more leverage than they are willing to use.
But Apple/all others wouldn't.. Because 20% profit.
Driven by our own capitalist agendas, we're the ones fuelling China after all.
That line of "reasoning" makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy, then.
(It additionally feels ethically unsound to me; the "if I don't do it, someone else will, therefore it's okay" — no, it's still not okay. And that's what people are upset about.)
But Apple made it a company focus to court Chinese market. So they can't back down now. For some reason I've never really liked the Chinese government. They always come across as a benevolent dictator, they'll let you do business as long as you toe the line. Any inkling of freespeech or such ideas and you're out.
And if you make choices they have consequences. Those consequences include that people in the west will lose respect for your company, complain about it, patronize competitors, propose laws to punish it, etc.
If that puts the company in a bind, good. They're a multi-billion dollar international corporation. They have to choose between morals and profits a thousand times a day. It should be as hard as possible for them to make the immoral choice. And if they make it anyway, it should cost them something.
What I'm saying is that that's the problem and what we should be doing is devising ways to thwart that outcome instead of forgiving them just because their betrayal was expected to be profitable.
More generally, I don't think describing countries & cultures that don't share your particular values as evil is reasonable or useful.
That is still a false dichotomy. They don't necessarily have to change the policy in order to render it ineffective.
Apple is full of smart people. They could think of something if they had to.
Others in the comments have already suggested that they could allow side-loading of apps, which would remove their ability to prevent people from installing VPN apps. So the choice isn't actually "do evil or leave", it's at best "do evil or open the walled garden", which makes the choice they made far less sympathetic.
> More generally, I don't think describing countries & cultures that don't share your particular values as evil is reasonable or useful.
Prohibiting VPNs is part of a wider crackdown on free speech and privacy. If "evil" means doing wrong, that is doing wrong. "The banality of evil" and all of that.
Funny that is the _exact_ same argument that politicians have made about secure backdoors in communication software for use by "law enforcement only".
> free speech and privacy
Why is that doing wrong? The causality is based in Western humanistic moral belief. You simply should not force your morals on other cultures and countries.
The government's argument is that we have the ingenuity to land a man on the moon, therefore it should be no problem to land a man on the sun.
You're arguing that because we can't land a man on the sun, there is no way to land a man on the moon.
The reason the government uses that argument is that it's generally true. Application of resources and ingenuity solves problems. Secure encryption back doors are in the exception box next to perpetual motion machines and faster than light communication.
Subverting censorship is not. People do that all the time.
> Why is that doing wrong? The causality is based in Western humanistic moral belief.
It is doing wrong because free speech is the best known method of preventing civil war. War being right at the top of the list of the most evil things in human experience.
And we're talking about Western beliefs because we're talking about Western people demanding Western values of a Western company.
Apple itself is a long way from being the free speech crusader you are hoping for; in fact, they are clearly quite pro-censorship: just look at the App store. It's ridiculously censored! The refusals to approve the drone strike app Metadata+ and the Twitter-alternatie Gab strike me as particularly egregious. See also the section "1.1 Objectionable Content" of the app store review guidelines -- it's like stepping back in time to the worst caricature of 1950s America prudery and censorship.
This a "two wrongs don't make a right" type situation.
In fact, if the pressure from this could get them to stop doing that, all the better.
Or stated another way "there's too much money involved to worry about ethics."
Yet Google left it and they seem to be doing OK. Apple could well afford to leave it too:
Apple is overly-dependent upon Chinese manufacturing to have hardware at all. Leaves them beholden to Chinese rules, whereas, if they had manufactured elsewhere, China would have to deal with demand for a needed foreign product.
Now, however, if Apple pulled out, they would leave all that manufacturing expertise behind, and would face a lack of skilled labor elsewhere that they largely caused in the first place.
So, yes, ethics and money clash yet again, as money was designed to make happen. If they didn't pay people, a lot of dirty work wouldn't happen, and a lot of goods would be unavailable as a result.
If you tweet about ethics on a computer, chances are, that computer's hardware makes you complicit.
Yes, me too...
Apple isn't dependent on the Chinese for manufacturing they are dependent on Foxconn, a Taiwanese company. And China wants Foxconn there. They greatly incentivized Foxconn to set up shop there.
There's no reason Apple with its' hundreds of billions in cash reserves couldn't finance an "iPhone City" like China did in Zhengzhou and put it elsewhere.
And seeing how Foxconn is looking towards automation which isn't dependent on human labor, they could set it up an automated iPhone City anywhere, including the US.
No. It was way before phone manufacturing. China wanted to censor google searches but Google did not approve this so at the end they pulled out their servers from China and hosted it in Singapore.
At the same time, the fact that the West generally doesn't care about ethics shows that the West is not necessarily a good model to follow. Maybe China has a better alternative.
The CPC is engaged in a very shortsighted strategy. They're doing everything they can to hang on to untenable growth numbers. When the chickens come home to roost there is going to be real trouble the likes of which we have not seen in living memory. The wealthy in China have seen the writing on the wall for a long time and are doing everything they can to exit before it's too late.
Then how can anyone really say that they are doing business in china? When it's the government calling all the shots and taking the lion's share of profits?
What is a foreign business in china, besides a brand-on-loan-to-the-government (that they pay you for using)?
The mentioned 52% or 51% ownership is nothing but protectionism. It is nothing different from Trump asking certain US products to be made in the US.
If it's the law, it's the law. In China, it's the law to remove VPN apps. I suppose it's really not much different than the laws in the US that compel companies to give the government access to my information if they request such access. It's just the law, it's not really Facebook and Google trying to screw me.
All that said, I think what most posters are advocating is maybe for Apple to just leave China.
And, of course, that's where the other shoe drops...
with the question of fiduciary duties.
So yeah... I see your point... because of the legal issues involved, privacy and access can be tough problems. Not just in China or the US, but elsewhere in the world as well.
*EDITS for grammar
It is very different. Censorship with the main objective of keeping an unelected regime in power by suppressing free speech is not the same as any problematic side-effects of fighting crime and terrorism. Granted, there are some grey areas such as oppression of sexual minorities, but the distinction between political oppression and crime fighting should not be lost completely.
The least Apple could do is allow sideloading of apps.
No, in US the directive comes from court and even then the companies can deny the information if it is encrypted (e.g. like Apple did in San Bernardino).
I also do not understand the nonsensical argument everyday that if US does small x then it allows other countries to do big X along with big Y. What kind of logic is this?
They can only argue against a specific request it and appeal a ruling or an order.
As for the San Bernadino case it's not correct.
Apple has complied with the court order, they gave the FBI access to the iCloud Account.
What they didn't do is to decrypt the phone but they were also not ordered too by the court.
If the court would have ordered them to develop a way to decrypt the device and they've lost all appeals they would've complied with that too.
There are bad laws, and then there are bad actors refusing to disobey bad laws, which is a quintessential civic obligation in the western tradition.
But of course, you could also just be a silent dictatorship supporter (seems like a natural view for a CEO) and hope that blind loyal fans & employees find good apologys for betrayal of core-western values.
And you dont get to pin this on cultural differences. Europe had 2000 years of kings, monarchs and other vermin- and after 2 WorldWars everybody basically had given up on democracy rooting anywhere there (maybe in britain). Its just european culture, to crawl under stomping boots. They need that!
Today, we got 60 years of peace and prosperity, with democracy and alot of freedom. So no- the partyline of ineveitability of itself, does not convince. Though im absolutly against violent unrest or violent transitions. I rather have china another 100 years under party rule, then supporting a violent uprising.
for some niche market, maybe not.
* How does the "decide" process and "approval" process work?
* Who is the decider? (What are their qualifications/bkgrd? (Are they ex workers of the tech sector in .CN that have xp in building all the things?
* What are the implications to cost/design/[whatever-i-dont-know-to-ask]?
* ELI5 'submission for approval' and 'time to approval'
* do .cn gov employees work/are-embedded-at any given
* is it as totalitarian as it sounds or is it efficient?
* what cut does the government take?
* Who is reputable in the US to ensure a product can get built in china?
About embedding of workers: local employees who are party members will organize a party branch inside the company. The more powerful internal party members you have, the easier it will be to be given permission to do things, get licenses, etc, so they'll gain committee seats and power. So you end up with an internal organization with power in your company whose allegiances are to an outside agency.
If they can't serve the interests of two societies at once, they will serve the society that exerts more oversight and control.
> in reality the only alternative is to abandon China to those who will do what they are ordered to
So the only alternative to doing business there - which requires doing as you're told - is leaving China to only businesses that will do what their told. I'm assuming you didn't mean to say that so can you explain?
Sounds like the "well, if I don't do it, someone else will" justification. Not the first time that has been used to justify an unethical action.
For "security" reasons or "fight agains terrorism", while it's really a fight between those in power and those who want power :-(
The need for IPFS, webRTC and other non-centralized protocols becomes more pressing every day, to defend everyone who is stuck in between.
The problem for censors is that there is not such thing as optimal compression for a given stream, since the optimality of a given compression codec is a probabilistic function of all data streams that could feasibly be compressed with the given codec.
What do I mean by this? Inoptimality is fundamentally immeasurable (even when a more optimal version is feasibly calculable, it may be inefficient to utilise it due to the increased complexity involved in encoding or decoding - and the possible reasons behind any given encoding choice are indistinguisable from each other), so a sliver of a data stream could potentially be utilised to package encrypted data in a manner that is fundamentally indistinguishable from encoding inoptimalities.
In a world where a huge amount of out data is ultra-high bandwidth multimedia content couple with personal super-computers, crytographically indistinguisable steganographic communication channels of a more than useful bandwidth are well within the realms of feasibility.
You can have perfect steganography but as soon as a government informant says they got contraband data from you people are going to jail or worse. Similarly, all of the plausible deniability in the world won't help if they compromise your system and record you accessing that data.
Among other things, this kills widespread underground media dissemination because as the number of people increases the odds approach certainty that state actors will learn how to access it, and the risk to users increases constantly – how well do you really know the person who hooked you up with an invite code? Is the P2P node you're connecting to anything other than a honeypot? The hottie you hooked up with last night – really into you or just installing malware on your computers and mapping out your social network?
(Lest you think that's a stretch, consider e.g. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29743857 and ask whether the Chinese government is more or less concerned with activists)
But I think that you're underestimating the power of the mathematics here in terms of the levels of achievable misdirection.
If the government gets into your unencrypted context you're pretty much fucked - I'll give you that - but it does not necessarily mean that anyone else is going down with you.
Let's say you have an unencrypted piece of data telling you that the XOR of the least significant bits of a multitude of data streams contains secret data and a descriptor for the next source node. Most of the data streams will be completely innocent. Even once I extract that data I'll have no idea where the contraband information came from.
This naturally further reduces your bandwidth, and you'll need the streams to contain content that non-dissidents have a decent chance of downloading together by pure chance to reduce suspicion.
There are huge difficulties - but that does not come close to meaning that nothing can be done.
The other problem is trust: you said you'd have no idea where the key came from. Ignoring the high possibility of the state recording enough history to answer that question, the bigger risk is active subversion: using that software is evidence that you're trying to evade surveillance, which is risky no matter how warranted, and making those requests is clear proof that you're doing so. The hardest problem here would be detecting moles and honeypots: secret police distribute software versions which leaks your activity to them, distribute keys online and in person, etc. They're not going to arrest you as soon as you install it but will wait, possibly for years, seeing who else your activity links in.
Absolute trust is fundamentally impossible (the place where there is no darkness is a legitimate concern here). How do you even know that the public keys on your machines are true, that the hashes of your OS ISOs are not false, that every semblance of the assumption of security that you are working within is not simply a cleverly laid trap designed to lead you to naively reveal your hitherto hidden intentions?
Eventually, you just have to run with "fuck it, I'll do what I can to cover my arse - let the chips fall where they may".
The fact that it is fundamentally impossible to know the underlying intention of any foreign consciousness or computational context does not necessarily mean that none can ever be trusted, only that they can never be fully trusted - and that you should use whatever degree of caution you believe is justified for the given situation.
The problem I'm concerned with is the promise: tell people that something like this works and they are likely to trust it – at least until news spreads about other people getting caught by basic statistical traffic analysis. This is basically the Bitcoin anonymity trap: the marketing guys like to run around telling people it's anonymous and people often miss the distinction that any mistake will cause it to fail open with a full public history.
In this way it shows that decentralized networks are the way to circumvent oppressive people.
The on-going movement towards decentralisation is something to celebrate as is the transformation of users, slowly becoming peers.
A bit off topic: I am in the USA and it surprises be constantly how most of my friends and family buy into American exceptionalism. Mostly, they don't travel much to foreign countries so they don't realize that the USA is one of MANY great places to live. The world for the most part is an awesome place but the news media convinces people otherwise. Re: China: even though China has problems with internal ethnic violence (source: I took an online class in English covering history, economics, and politics taught by three professors in China) my impression of people in China when I was there is that they are generally happy with their society. It is not my place to tell other people what form of government they should have.
They could block all of Wikipedia ofcourse, but it'd be overly draconian, hard to justify and people would be upset (though itll happen eventually. They're working on a wikipedia clone right now)
As someone who grew up in the East Block, reading such naive comments as yours leaves me divided. It's good on one hand that you've never came even close to an oppressive government so not even your imagination allows you to grok. On the other hand facing the development in the world, it's quite concerning.
so you grew up in the old communist eastern bloc, and you want to blindly compare what you suffered back then to what is happening in China now?
I didn't grew up in communism, I grew up after the 1978 reform in China. My entire extended family work for the private sector with my closest family members running their own successful private businesses. Did you guys have that in the eastern bloc (not east block)? I got Internet connection back in the early 90s and I have been openly posting comments on Chinese forums criticising some of CCP's policies for the last 20 years. They didn't give a sh!t about it and I never got myself into any trouble. Can you guys do that back in the eastern bloc days? Starting from my middle school, they have been teaching me that the market economy is the only viable solution, they encourage the best students to study in western countries and offered numerous benefits for that, e.g. a long list of tax benefits if you study in the west and go back to China later. Did your eastern bloc "motherland" encourage you to do that?
The eastern bloc failed for an obvious reason: communism. Chinese killed that rubbish back in 1978. Learn something.
> I got Internet connection back in the early 90s and I have been openly posting comments on Chinese forums criticising some of CCP's policies for the last 20 years.
I don't know what you have been criticizing there or how but you are aware that your government puts even artists in jails for "criticizing" are you? Why do you think they force Apple to take those VPN apps down if free speech is no problem?!
We also have those people moaning up to today how good it was because back then in socialist utopia, they just needed to know the right people or be in the party. Everything else worked for them then. Today they have to face real competition, rules and regulations. They fail now and therefore tend to support other radical parties that may bring them their former benefits back. This is why you see so many of those methods and ideologies coming back on the right in former East Block countries. So no...it's not about socialism. As bad as it was. It's humans, power, influence and money.
And no my eastern block motherland did not encourage me to exploit western countries education systems so I can learn how to exploit/manipulate the economic system too and come back afterwards. The best (or wealthiest, most influence see above) were able to go to Russia though and we were not so brain washed due to the lack of the media flood so people who left, stayed in the West. In the end the system broke apart and Democracy and the Free Market replaced it. Learn something.
> Chinese killed that rubbish back in 1978. Learn something.
Well...good luck on your next election then!
You make it look like your country did not become some scary undemocratic thought police thing. There is a reason why you don't write "free market economy" as anybody else from the west would in such a glorification speech. You depend on a illusion of economic stability just like the socialist systems back then. The only difference is now that because you've been the sweatshop for the rest of the world for so long, the world thinks it depends on the continuation of the show. We'll see how that will work out in the end. Your government doesn't think it will end good or it wouldn't implement those crowd control mechanisms and make people disappear who may cause critical thinking in the first place
Now try organising something to act on that criticism, like people in the West can do. You'll suddenly discover that it's very different.
...it was late.
Am I allowed to have my own opinion on that matter when I am a Chinese living in China working in that sector? Maybe your definition of freedom/free speech is a pretty censored one?
How do you reconcile this belief with the following:
1) The GFW blocks sites and content related to dissident groups and individuals in China, such as Xinjiang and Tibetan independence groups.
2) The GFW blocks sites and content related to Falun Gong.
3) Personal VPN usage will be blocked.
4) Many foreign news sites are blocked.
2. illegal organisation by Chinese laws. btw, they spam my mobile all the time, it is pretty rude to call someone's mobile 5-6am on a weekend morning to play prerecorded message like "CCP is bad, they jailed many Falun Gong members".
3. "will" is a very interesting term. Posting here using VPN, let me know when it is actually blocked.
4. I read CNN/BBC/Foxnews quite often, they are not blocked, no VPN required.
>2. illegal organisation by Chinese laws. btw, they spam my mobile all the time, it is pretty rude to call someone's mobile 5-6am on a weekend morning to play prerecorded message like "CCP is bad, they jailed many Falun Gong members".
I'm not sure what any of this has to do with the belief you stated in your OP:
>> I strongly believe the GFW is a protectionism tool to protect and grew the Chinese Internet sector.
> 3. "will" is a very interesting term. Posting here using VPN, let me know when it is actually blocked.
> Beijing said in January it would restrict virtual private networks, or VPNs, and this month reportedly told the three big telecoms companies to block individuals' access to them by early next year.
Companies are already pulling out of the VPN market in China. You might be familiar with this given the thread we're replying to.
> 4. I read CNN/BBC/Foxnews quite often, they are not blocked, no VPN required.
Le Monde, WSJ, NYT, Reuters, The Economist and TIME are blocked. The NYT and BBC have gone through periods of being blocked and unblocked over the past decade.
blocking WSJ is bad, really bad, but let's be honest, how many Chinese would be reading WSJ? 0.1%? Sure, that 0.1% still counts, they should be allowed to read WSJ or Reuters, but it is not remotely comparable to the impact of blocking, say, youtube. how many Chinese would be watching youtube? I'd argue hundreds of millions could be watching.
With all these numbers in mind, and the fact that there are highly popular replacement services in China for every single one of those blocked one like google/fb/twitter, you tell me what is the primary goal.
it is also worth pointing out that blocking WSJ/Reuters and similar web sites are bad decisions, but blocking Xinjiang/Tibet independence movement sites are totally different matter.
It's not like this is a surprise at all. People have warned about this for years but the fan base and the cool design were stronger. I'm pretty sure there will be no uprising in the western Apple community about that at all.
Who's to say one can't technically compromise and take advantage of AmaGoogAppBookWeiTenUbtakte infrastructure and use it for any ends, in similar ways corps/IC's agencies/.mil's do for their ends?
After all its still hardware and software with flaws like anything else.
But The Great Firewall could and sometimes does already block all VPN traffic so it would not be any use.
China? This has been happening in the US and Europe for years.
Look how heavily censored all social media is now.
You might say that these restrictions and censorship is okay because you agree with the given reason. But exactly like that, people in china might agree to the reasons their government is giving them for their censorship. Who is right?
What do you expect?
People in China could continue using app store accounts created in other countries as usual.
And most educated people continue using VPNs too. Normal people are becoming experts in encription, security...
It worries me more that countries like the UK and the US want to follow China, in that order.
And this isn't a China-vs-the-West thing. The idea that people deserve and need to be able to communicate freely predates the current governments of both China and the U.S.
It boggles my mind that anyone could think Apple is somehow a vanguard of free speech. Their iThings are jails, they restrict what software you can run on them and they are the final arbiter on what software is allowed. What aspect of that is in keeping with free speech?
A radio station that refuses to play my song or let me talk isn’t violating my freedom of speech.
Facebook censoring “hate speech” is not violating freedom of speech. Hate speech is protected speech under the U.S. constitution. (Before anyone brings up Schenck v. United States, that case ruled that speech that present imminent danger (yelling fire in a crowded theater) was not protected, but hate speech doesn’t generally reach a level of immediate danger.
So if we are to criticize Apple for curating their store, we must criticize Facebook for curating their platform. We must also crisis Google for their curation of advertising content as well. Because unless hate speech says “kill <some group> today at 5pm at the local market,” it’s broadly protected under the U.S. constitution. What that means that practically every single company in the U.S. is guilty of “violating free speech” – IF they were the government, but they are not and thus aren’t violating anyone’s right to free speech.
No one ever said that capitalism was very aligned with human rights. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It's a straw man because nobody here thinks poor people deserve to starve to death. In fact my capitalist job allows me to pay taxes and support charities for feeding, clothing, and sheltering the poor.
All that being said, you're talking to straw men here. Most died in the wool free market types still see a role for the government in preventing market abuse, including fraud, monopolies, insider trading, etc.
But then a right winger will visit Shanghai, talk to a bunch of happy Chinese and make a YouTube video where he says that in China everyone is happy and rich while in EU your daily life is a struggle against Calais EuroTunnel stowaways or something.
The only thing that allows China to do all these is political will of the people in countries that enable it. Somehow North Korea doesn't get a free pass but China does. As long as people value cheap products and ruthless 'capitalism' and 'free market' (if you can even call China that with all the governmental interference) more than rights of ordinary (i.e. not ones in central Shanghai) Chinese this will keep happening.
I mean being angry that the Chinese government isn't great at human rights is one thing, but to point that anger at Apple is a bit misguided, and what do you suggest that would actually make the problem better?
It's a very tough problem because on one side isolating is bad and allows the oppressive governments to create 'us with them' rhetoric and replace foreign companies with domestic ones that are absolutely subservient to them, on the other, abandoning your original principles and showing that you can be part of 'the West' (products and services wise) without accepting any of the Western values is also bad.
Many people here suggest allowing side loading apps, maybe that's the answer. It'd allow some people the freedom to use iPhones with VPN but also allow Apple the plausible deniability. And Apple's walled garden approach is also criticized for other unrelated reasons so it'd help with them too.
All I'm saying I guess is don't make Apple out to be a bad guy because they can't wade through that mess. I wouldn't expect them to. One thing is they seem to care more about secure devices than any other tech company I'm aware of. They aren't perfect by any means, but they've shown that they are willing to put their neck out with the San Bernandino thing and others.
No one is telling Muslim countries to show women hair or telling Singapore or China to unban porn or Europeans to stop enjoying football and enjoy baseball. But if a country's culture includes censoring actual genuine political criticism then perhaps western culture should include not dealing with such countries or undermining that part of their 'culture' whenever possible.
All of the things you mentioned as possibly wrong in the USA are very widely criticized domestically and abroad and debated (the efficiency of debating against people who justify for profit prisons and inhumane treatment of prisoners and so on is completely separate matter of course) and not censored so they might actually change in the future and even if the government attempts censorship is some roundabout way it blows up in their face with even more attention to the issue.
Meanwhile Chinese government wants to use censorship and related powers to cover CPC and governmental abuses and misuses of power, attack its neighbouring countries with propaganda and so on. And people consider this largely okay.
But they are a sovereign nation, it's their country and their laws and their army. I mean if other countries did it to the US because their values differ from our values, like say, getting Trump elected, you wouldn't think it was such a good idea right?
Also, take that down the road and we start souring relations with China? Where does that lead? Two nuclear powers shouldn't be antagonizing each other, and I believe telling China how to run their own country is part of that.
I'm not excusing what China is doing, but honestly, why does the US presume they have to fix it?
China has also swore to only use their nuclear arsenal for retaliation (for what it's worth). And China and Pakistan antagonize India (and vice versa) more than any kind of political message ever could and they are all nuclear powers with shared borders.
I don't believe in absolute sovereignty where a government can do anything it wants to its own citizens and be free from even criticism or reduced business as the result. Other countries are also sovereign and should be free to not support China in what they do.
The argument about sovereignty is also largely invalid by precedence when it comes to China and USA and EU too, EU doesn't export drugs for death penalties, USA has a history with South America, Middle East and China/Taiwan disputes, EU and USA both called China out on organ harvesting from executed prisoners, etc.
This isn't about the government but about a single company vs. government in this case. I have no idea what Apple could do. Some people say - allow apps sideloading, another could be preemptive protective censorship (if I were in China I'd rather have Apple tell me I f.d something up with my message before anything leaves my phone than have the message be sent, caught by the Great Firewall and land me in a labor camp). I don't know, Apple has smart people, they should be the ones figuring it all out and put their money where they mouth is with respect to freedom, free flow of ideas and so on. Apple is one of few (only?) un-Chinese phone brands popular in China, all of the others are running customized android or something, are Chinese brands, subservient to the government, more easily influenced because they are based in China, staffed by Chinese, directly under Chinese law and within the CPC's reach, etc.
Apple has very privileged position due to their placement in the USA and recognition. They can try to stretch it, not just roll over and remove VPN as soon as China asks, what they did is literally the easiest and simplest solution, far below them. Due to their location they aren't easily attacked by the Chinese authorities at their own HQ, their top staff is American and thus values freedom of speech and free flow of ideas (unlike Chinese company staff back in China that might agree with government due to education/propaganda and never hearing anything wrong about it), their brand is the only one with such penetration, Chinese already have their own phone vendors that enforce censorship much stronger, they are a recognized brand and when they are gone it'll be very visible and might raise red flags in the upper middle class of Chinese who could afford their products, etc.
Also: As I have already spent a lot of time on this and don't plan to reply anymore and we might be reaching top comment depth I'd like to thank you for the good in depth discussion to get the brain going. I'll consider your arguments and adjust my future views and actions accordingly.
Their choices are, as far as I can tell, to either remove certain apps from app store, or to face the app store blocked entirely. I wonder what servers their customers best.
It's hard and unpleasant to conduct business in a place where laws are at odds with what you believe is right. But when it's lucrative enough, you may choose to shut up and comply.
It sounds like that point can be accurately rephrased as, "We're censoring you, but we did some soul searching and we think it's for your own good."
There certainly aren't any souls waiting to be found in the earnings report.
"The version of Article 19 in the ICCPR later amends this by stating that the exercise of these rights carries 'special duties and responsibilities' and may 'therefore be subject to certain restrictions' when necessary '[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others' or '[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals'." (Wikipedia)
Freedom of speech can be limited even as a universal human right.
They are inalienable rights because it's wrong to limit them, not because a group voted to recognize them. The ICCPR's position is interesting to compare and contrast to what is right, not because it's the authority on what is right.
That's the entire basis for the US Declaration of Independence.
In less abstract terms, the case is that abridging speech, especially political speech, is dehumanizing, inherently subjective (therefore unjust), a key tool for tyrrany, and harmful on the whole. It also reduces accountability by limiting the availability of facts and investigations.
None of that says anything about democracy, capitalism, or the West.
Now, I wouldn't necessarily want to live in a society like that, but it seems to me that "valid first principles" is just a fancier appeal to authority. I'm sure the Chinese would roll their eyes at grand proclamations like this.
The freedom to call for genocide isn't a fundamental right. The freedom to criticize leadership is.
Finally, there are upsides to lots of unconscionable things. At one time, slavery was a cornerstone of the American economy. The question isn't whether there is an upside. The question is whether it's right.
> any and all rights
...and I'm just pointing out that there's a robust philosophical framework, including the stated basis for common law traditions such as the US, Britain, Canada, etc. which does characterize rights as being as fundamental to the universe as particles.
When certain big network equipment companies (this was before Huawei cloned everything) responded to criticism for building the Great Firewall of China by saying they were only supplying off-the-shelf gear already in use in the West, they weren't lying.
The problem is how the UK cabinet is arranged and the politically powerful role of Home Secretary - where the job description is a license to dream up, campaign for, and implement the most effective means of "keeping the country safe". Quite unfortunate.
Long-term change would only be effected by having the role's description framed in the context of keeping the UK - and its freedoms - safe. It's a subtle change to the oath of office, but would hopefully prevent the recent abuses we've seen. Universal mass surveillance is fundamentally incompatible with our right to privacy.
In general, in 7 years of living in the UK, it is definitely my observation that British people in general trust the government to do the right thing. They were not brought up with an ingrained distrust of authority like people from some other countries were - not everyone is happy with the government, but people in general belive that the law is the law and if something is illegal there is a good reason behind it and they don't need to get involved too much.
This level of political apathy and lack of interest in their own country is really shocking at times.
What surprises me more though is how people can be so confident that their data is safe with the government. There is a long list of failed IT projects and incompetent handling of computer security by public organisations.
Even if everything the government wants to do with our data was justified, there would still be a very valid concern about this data eventually ending up in the hands of organised criminals.
1) Put up as much of a fight as possible, just as they have done in the US.
2) Allow sideloading of apps.
Can't you install your own (self-compiled) apps on your own iDevice these days with a free apple developer account?
That could work with an open source iOS client that people compile themselves.
As I'm not familiar with China or its (native) people, I have no grounds to refute the statement above, but is it really true ?
My experience is that a large number of people in the West ("educated" or not) are barely interested even in the information and news that are readily available to them, and mostly concern themselves with sports, gossip and entertainment.
I find hard to believe that most people in China are using VPNs and taking risks on a daily basis to access "uncensored" information, I'm sure that there are quite a few that do, but I'd be surprised if it's not a relatively small minority.
Curious and slightly off topic. Was this intentional or just a typo?
Overall, this year has really chilled my enthusiasm for getting too comfortable with the thought of living here the rest of my working life. In this age with so many elite Chinese being trained and educated abroad, it is really hard to beleive things are going in this directon. I mean, IT Is already hard enough, we need a server in our office that is connected to another server in France, and we need it reliable and without issue. Making this type of stuff even harder on us as a business is really irritating. I really do tell myself every day "if it was easy everybody would be doing it".
According to the telecom regulations and the requirement of MIIT/MPS and Internet supervision agency, please check up two parts below.
• The illegal “over the wall” proxy sites and provide hosting campaign service for illegal “over the wall” proxy sites.
• All main domains which don’t have ICP recorded number via MIIT and All websites which have illegal content.
We will continuously receive notification from the regulators to close such services or shut down server deployment immediately. In case your will be involved in any consequences of such violation, please stop immediately if you have such illegal services and deployment. Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.
AWS China (Beijing) Region operated by SINNET"
And here I was, almost believing you.
Why should we even believe that they aren't covertly cooperating with the FBI?
• apply for a free Apple developer account,
• compile your own copy of https://github.com/mtigas/OnionBrowser or https://github.com/yuyao110120/ShadowVPN-iOS and
• install it on your own iDevice
[Update] ok I just checked the limitation of the free dev account, and yes because of certificates it is only valid for 7 days... I was thinking about the regular $$ account.
That doesn't mean app stores are inherently evil; they still do a lot of good by making sure people can easily find and pay for high-quality apps.
As you say, a reasonable alternative would be to allow side loading of apps, so that people can find and load apps distributed via various peer-to-peer ways, without Apple being responsible.
Words have power. "App store" sounds up-beat, friendly and inclusive. But the rules behind what Apple has established that "App store" actually means are anything but.
Also, Android doesn't restrict side-loading in this way so I disagree that restricting side-loading is an essential feature of an app store as commonly understood.
I feel like you didn't really answer my point, though. I criticize you for using an upbeat word to make a dictatorial system sound good. And you counter by talking about something entirely else, word definition and word history.
It's been said that the app-store-only model is not basically different because you can still buy an unrestricted competing device. I kind of agree, but that's sort of like saying people in China can still decide to move to another country. The cheaper such options are, the more weight to give such an argument. Most people aren't going to carry two phones around.
You can complain only about those, that are inconsequential, or won't change anyway. Otherwise you could be labeled with miscellaneous labels and maybe also beaten at someplaces.
I'm not going to pretend to believe that Tim Cook's letter (cited elsewhere) was much more than a PR move in a country they were unlikely to face any substantial consequences for (at least publicly) standing up to the government, or that I really believe that corporations have a responsibility to protect basic human rights (though it would be nice if they did). Still, it'd be nice if corporations didn't try to have it both ways and maintain an image as a courageous force for good when it was convenient while washing their hands of responsibility for any actual action when it became difficult.
Also, it's not that cut and dry: If your product actually contributes to the wealth of the country, they cannot just ban you without hurting themselves. Just because they legally can, does not mean you don't have any leverage.
Without access to Shenzhen and Foxconn, it seems like it would be a literal corporate suicide.
Also, do you think that China doesn't care about unemployment and exports? I mean, Foxconn is not a charity, they are effectively an exporter of a part of the value of Apple products, and they employ people building Apple products, if they kick out Apple, that money will most likely go elsewhere and employ people elsewhere.
Also, noone is talking about opening up anything, just keeping the access that already exists, which they are obviously trying to "reverse" right now, apparently successfully ... and you are saying that cannot actually be done?
I am not sure I can follow your argument?
Censorship is fundamental to Chinese government policy. It's totally non-negotiable. You either do as they say, or you don't operate in China. No negotiation, no compromise. Given the manufacturing situation China has Apple by the short and curlies, and Cooke knows it.
Also, there is no such thing as "non-negotiable". Everything is negotiable, if you are able to offer something of enough value in exchange.
Of course Google do this by not operating in China at all any more. But what is being suggested is that Apple at least threaten to violate Chinese law or attempt to apply pressure to the Chinese government. Even Google didn't try that when they did operate in China, because frankly they're not insane and they had employees in China, and presumably didn't want any of those employees gracing the hospitality of the Chinese police force.
Well, they could take a market hit if customers find out they've been acting contrary to their words.
How do the law work in China? Is it even possible to block censorship?