The app is legal within Saudi Arabia and in fact published by their government.
Are we to take down any app which violates anyone’s morals? Or just the morals of particular countries? If an app is blasphemous by the standards of say Mormonism or Islam, should we take it down? After everyone is done, how many apps will be left?
If we enforce some morals and not others in our app stores, who exactly do we choose as the arbiters of morality? U.S. public opinion? Chinese public opinion? Maybe the U.N?
Just to be clear I’d prefer this app not exist, and I would not be unhappy if it gets “unpublished”. I also think it would be cool if the major platforms just came out and made an unambiguous statement on what they will and won’t stand for.
I think it's pretty reasonable for the court of modern political opinion to pass judgement on the more egregious examples of injustice in the world. Yes, morality is relative, but there's a strong majority opinion on this - especially in the countries that build the technology platforms we're talking about.
Apple & Google should yank the apps, and we should hold their feet to the fire until they do.
To me if BMW said "You can buy this car but you're not allowed to drive to to Compton Los Angeles". The answer should not be "If you want to drive to Compton buy some other brand". It should be "Those terms are Illegal"
Unlike Google, Apple claims total dominion over what apps you can run on your iOS device. They have that control over 1.3 billion devices. That the largest amount of censorship control ever in the hands of few people. Political apps are blocked. Sex positive porn apps are blocked. I get that Apple shouldn't be forced to carry those apps on their store but until they provide alternatives I think they're in the wrong.
People generally respond to this they want Apple to censor their apps. That's not an argument for not opening the platform. You are always free to install only Apple approved apps regardless of if the platform is open or not.
It’s worth pointing out that the BMW approved roads have much better fatality statistics than the unapproved roads, and there’s almost guaranteed to be an approved road that goes within minutes of where you want to go anyway. Oh and some of those approved roads are exclusive to BMW and they’re really well made.
Or you can get the Jeep Cherokee, which drives really well on that dirt track.
I could only see this argument if I was borrowing / leasing the car from BMW.
You'd have to change what ownership means for this to make sense.
And lest you think this is an absurd example, we're already heading down this exact path with drones, of which many now default to being geo-fenced from flying in restricted zones. It won't be long before these restrictions become nominally impossible for laypeople to switch off without some kind of security key.
This is a confusing stance.
This stopped being true some years ago. You can build any app you wish from source and Xcode will sign it and you can run it on your iOS device—no approval or payment required.
If you don't have a paid developer license it will silently be uninstalled after 7 days.
Who holds Googles and Facebooks feet to the fire for collaborating with PRISM, giving your nude selfies to NSA personnel? 
Is there a majority opinion this is okay if some amount of terrorism or "terrorism" (depending who you ask) is thwarted?
IMHO, the answer here is there‘s simply no easy answers here, and if there‘s just one thing to learn, it‘s that the world is a place with a lit of different opinions and values.
Yes (but only begrudgingly). Saudi Arabia is a sovereign nation. That means within their borders they can do as they please, even if we don't like what they do.
We fought one of the most devastating wars in history (the 30 years war ) trying to control what other people think, and at the end everyone agreed that sovereignty is a great concept .
Using our influence over Apple and Google to project power against Saudi Arabia and try to force them to agree to different moral norms is in stark contrast to the idea of sovereignty and signals to everyone else that that kind of behaviour is ok. That's how you get cold and hot wars.
On the other hand, not using our influence over Apple and Google to project power against Saudi Arabia and try to force them to agree to different moral norms signals that their norms (and the behaviour they cause and justify) are ok. And that's how you get millions of women horribly mistreated.
Sovereignty may be a great concept, but not when you use it to justify and normalize abuse. I feel like that should be condemned and not tolerated under any circumstances.
The former because the rights groups which criticize the corporations are the ones driving the supposed change and enforcing their own morality. Rights groups are probably better moral arbiters than corporations, on account of there being less conflict of interest. And the latter because, while the line can definitely be very hard to trace in various, more ambiguous situations, I really don't think this specific case is one of those. It feels like a slippery slope argument to me, specifically: "If we enforce this, what else are we going to end up enforcing?"
Freedom of speech is one thing. This app is _specifically_ created to harm women who want refuge.
If female genital mutilation "direct harm"? If yes, does the same apply to circumcision of males? If yes, is denying jewish people a religious practise (and thus potentially entry to heaven) "direct harm"? Different people will answer this very differently, even in the same country and culture.
More applicable to this case: Is it ok for parents to see where their children are? Is ist ok for parents to get an alert when their children cross a geofence? If in a culture the husband is viewed as the guardian of his wife, is it ok if the husband uses the same app for his wife?
Note that I don't endorse any of these things, I'm simply saying that "are people being directly harmed by this product" is sometimes a deep philosophical or psychological question that is arguably harder than rocket science.
If female genital mutilation "direct harm"? Yes.
does the same apply to circumcision of males? Not to the same extent, because the harm is less - despite using the same word, cutting off the foreskin is objectively less harmful than cutting off the clitoris.
However, this is an area where the prevailing opinion is shifting as we speak. Male circumcision used to be normal (in the US), now it's considered in most polite circles to be somewhere between antiquated and barbaric. The loudest argument in favor seems to be "it's my religious tradition!" but ask the mormons how that argument faired WRT plural marriage and excluding blacks. Public opinion shifts slowly but it's not hard to imagine a future where even religion doesn't cut it as an excuse for cutting off bits of a baby's junk. We may revisit this question in a few more decades.
Is it ok for parents to see where their children are? Yes. Parents in every modern society are granted extremely broad powers over their children.
If in a culture the husband is viewed as the guardian of his wife, is it ok if the husband uses the same app for his wife? No. Women are not property. That's the moral judgement of modern society. Cultures which violate this moral judgement should do so without our help.
These are not thorny issues or deeply philosophical problems.
If we look at African culture, which is the most common place for female circumcision, we find that male circumcision is quite different from what people might expect in both execution and purpose. The boys are much older, and the ritual is done in part to test the "warriors" ability to withstand pain. A boy who cries out in pain brings great dishonor to his family, and of course no sedative is applied. It is ritualized torture with religious attributes.
This does not make US and EU style of male circumcision more moral, but it does mean that when you say that "the harm is less" with circumcision of males, what we are saying is that ritualized torture is not as bad as cutting off the clitoris. I object to that. male circumcision in nations that practice female circumcision is one of the worst form of barbaric acts one human can do to an other human, and for the worst reasons.
Protesting the immoral behavior only by means that don’t really hurt your own bottom line is not actually doing much except cement the hypocrisy.
Sure, but no western agent is obliged to comply with the moral standards of Saudi Arabia, or any other country to that matter.
Apple, Google are complacent because they want to do business in Saudi Arabia. They're favoring profit over enforcing western morality within their operations abroad, and will continue to do so as long as they don't get too much scrutiny.
The argument is a neutrality one, essentially that Google and Apple should not be enforcing morality here or abroad.
Should we also just drop sanctions and ban exports to these nations while we're at it?
Sovereignty in its own right cannot be used to justify complacency.
The fact that you're talking in hushed tones of reverence about the glorious principle of sovereignty in a discussion of Saudi Arabia is really just the icing on the cake.
The GP comment (about the Peace of Westphalia) is bananas and the dementors might be a little uptight when it comes 'snark' but you're way past snark - 'lol, reading comprehension much' is not snark it's just crappy namecalling. You should edit it out.
You have even truncated my original quote to make it seem snarkier:
"to the point that you don't seem to be able to read any meaning into anything that seems a little snarky" -> "you don't seem to be able to read any meaning"
What I find tiresome is the overuse of the word 'snark' on HN to mean 'you disagreed with me but didn't show my arguments the hushed reverence of the drawing room'. As a result, every conversation at HN rapidly silts up with people straight-facedly raising disingenuous absurdities. We didn't quite make it to the Nazis, but seriously? "Apartheid-era South Africa should have been left alone because something something Westphalia."
You are exactly right: the comment is bananas. It is past due that it should be allowed to call a comment 'bananas' on HN without people crying out for teacher to come Save Them From The Snark.
This way they have complete control of praticing their own norms and policies on their platform without large foreign compines saying what they should and shouldn't do.
There’s a thing called human rights and we should all stand up for them.
I wish people could see injustice as unjust even if they are not in the targeted group.
Would you be willing to make the same argument you're making for a similar app that allows parents to supervise their children? Would it depend on the age of the child in question?
And, for a more sticky question: even in the case of this app, does the consent of the supervised woman matter? Or are we willing to make the stronger claim that Saudi women are incapable of consent because they live in a strongly patriarchal society? Should we extend the same treatment to other instances of gender-specific religious and cultural practices?
Would you be willing to make the same argument you're making for a similar app that allows parents to supervise their children?
Parents get broad supervisory powers over their children. That seems pretty universal and uncontroversial.
Would it depend on the age of the child in question?
Of course. The exact age of majority is not agreed upon even among the most progressive societies. I think we can all agree that parents should be able to make travel decisions for a 12yo. A 17yo is more complicated.
does the consent of the supervised woman matter?
This is a specious line of argument, since the app is being used against women who do not consent.
I think South Africa is a good example because there were wide ranging trade sanctions against them during Apartheid which could have supported actions such as yanking government apps as a matter of international agreement.
Overall though I don’t think it’s a good idea for FAANG companies to unilaterally wade into foreign policy or cultural influence even more than they already do.
Other commenters have made some good points that the platforms are already very not neutral, pointing to adult apps and arbitrary TOS violations as app store death penalty.
I agree that this is true but I remain broadly opposed to the idea that we must stop others from running code that we don’t like. Overall it doesn’t seem like the right mechanism to do politics.
Think about sex-related subcultures in Japan and, say, US.
This is itself a value judgement and comes down to your opinion. Like the old joke about turtles, it's opinions all the way down.
It's also fairly obviously absurd; there are countries where public opinion and even the legal system are pretty much OK with rounding up gays and beating them up, or worse. You have to have a pretty hefty commitment to neutral principles to think that Apple and Google should be OK with the "Let's Beat Up a Batty Boy" app because it's OK in some country...
That's a moral judgement like any other ("we should exercise fairness and take seriously any system of values that operates within a recognized national boundary circa 2019"). It would suggest you are committed to that principle above other ones, like "the right of women to self-determination". If that's a decision you want to make, knock yourself out, but it leads to rather strange situations.
Note that I made it sound extra absurd by limiting in time and to national boundaries; but conversely I could take off that limit and have you giving Aztec human sacrifice fair consideration ("strokes beard... well, actually, given population pressures... ummmn... ").
You're still flailing around looking for neutral principles: considering "intentions and outcomes" doesn't get you out of trouble as who is to say what intentions and outcomes are good?
A homophobe in Uganda or Russia might claim that their intentions are "save our young people from the gays" and their desired outcomes are "now all the gays are dead or hiding" as a Good Thing; they would not recognize your principles ("don't harm innocent people for no reason") as valid.
In the end it just comes down to 'fighting your corner'. There is no magical conjuration trick that will make our values objectively better in some way that stands outside our values. Who cares?
I urge you to rethink your comment.
[edit: sorry it's not short at all, but self-repeating so just read a few and you're done]
My stance here is that everyone has to make these subjective moral decisions all the time and that the hope that we can pull a neutral principle out of our ass and Resolve Everything is itself a moral decision and not exempt from moral criticism. It's just yet another value judgement: specifically in the Cloudflare case, it's that "the abstract neutral principle of free speech and the idea that companies shouldn't interfere with who they host" is more important than "maybe we shouldn't let those assholes from the Daily Stormer go about their business with impunity". I'm OK with you believing that if you want to, but it's just as much of a subjective moral decision to prioritize a quest for neutral principle over making your own ad hoc moral decisions (which you will wind up doing anyhow).
In short, it's subjectivity all the way down, so you may as well 'fight your corner'.
>"is it the right place for tech companies to be regulating the Internet... what I know is not the right answer is that a cabal of ten tech executives with names like Matthew, Mark, Jack, ... Jeff are the ones choosing what content goes online and what content doesn't go online."
I'm not sure the dog-in-a-bucket analogy holds. He has a moral stance, but he's not sure he should be exercising it.
I'm sure as a businessman he knows exactly what he's doing. Some Pilate-level hand-washing ("I don't want to make this judgement, you know") is just good business - you can blunt some of the criticism from the Free Speech Absolutists ("Hey guys, I'm uncomfortable too!") while also saying farewell to your least favorite customer, the Daily Stormer. Putting the criticism up is also pretty astute in this regard.
Yet all adult apps are banned, just because as US companies morals when it comes to sexual content are just very Disneyesque in that country. Even for 18+ year olds.
They do, and they've decided that consenting adult's sexual preferences are worse than an app that allows a dystopian regime to track the movement of women so abusive men can control them.
That's messed up.
Since Apple & Google created a walled garden, any damage the apps can do fall into their responsibility. If they wanted to avoid this responsibility, they should have created an open platform.
Either you are neutral or you take full responsibility of what you offer in your walled garden. You can't have it both ways.
What you (or any of us) think about it in moral or ethic terms, is irrelevant.
What would phone service be like if the carrier could decide who gets to use it and who doesn't? They are not held responsible for criminals using phones but if they decided who gets to use it they would be liable.
This is like a serial killer who campaigns against littering. They have a line they won't cross, but we shouldn't accept it.
I would encourage anyone running any 'cloud' based services for the Saudi government to discontinue serving them as soon as possible. This runs the gamut from basic DNS hosting, VM hosting (google/AWS/azure/whatever), email and managed service hosting (office365), everything.
They're welcome to have a go at fully self hosting everything for their own citizens on their own ISPs, inside the kingdom, with netblocks they don't advertise to BGP upstreams.
Oh wait, most of the AS around you also prefer not to route your traffic. And your domain? Nah, DNS is also at their providers' whim and you are on a very popular blacklist.
Now, the bar to being a halfway decent and ethical ISP is not really so high these days. You have to actually go to extra effort and make things intentionally more complicated to fuck with your customers' traffic.
In North America, at least, part of that includes not censoring content and not even contemplating doing something like the Saudis do. I can guarantee you that if the C-level executives at my company were asked to implement something that was grossly in violation of the US constitution/bill or rights, Canadian charter of rights and freedoms, or similar concepts upholding the rule of law, they would refuse.
I feel for the people who run telecom and ISPs in Saudi Arabia, who need to implement technical solutions at the whim of a corrupt hereditary monarchy.
I debated whether it was even worth my time to write this comment, since your argument is weak and theoretical. Reality is that major ISPs don't cut each other off for arbitrary reasons. But I'd bet $5 you're not involved in the practical day to day logistics of things like establishing 100GbE PNIs between major ASes.
What neutral argument do you really wish to have? The fact that their legal system is messed up won't make me say "oh, but by law you are not allowed...".
To them the fact that we allow so much casually dating could be (and in middle eastern cultures often is) viewed as “wrong”.
Tell me one woman in this world that likes to be treated less than a car to rent (take a look at the website, you even have to justify where to go and for how long. Basically with car2go a car is treated with more respect than a human being). But as someone might argue, it's not up to me to judge. Thankfully I live in a country that treats everyone with respect.
I'm intrigued as to which country this is... How are immigrants treated in your country? People working minimum wage jobs? Transsexuals?
At some point in the future, people will look back at this time and consider it immoral that companies could rent people by the hour.
Likewise, people in many non-western cultures do not have any issue with having a guardian 'look after' you, in return for a payment to your family.
If the people don't see an issue with it, why should some foreign company come in and decide to ban it?
Yeah, you can quit whenever you want. It's not like you were born into your company and have no other choice but to go there every day of your life.
> At some point in the future
Morality changes, opinions too, and laws too. What then? Should we legalize pedophiles so that we can claim we are an open society and future-proof?
> When you are employed by a company, you are treated 'like a car to rent', yet nobody seems to have an issue with it.
That's work, that's life - if that goes against human rights, yes, I agree, I wish I was rich without doing s*. :)
In the end it comes down to the fact that Western countries have the app stores. Enthusiasts for various middle-brow airport Big Ideas books can probably advance about a million different theories (many even plausible) that explain why these companies wind up being from California and not Saudi Arabia or Uganda.
As far as I'm concerned, if you're busy promulgating the morals of Saudi Arabia, while ensconced comfortably in California, you've got it coming when your friends and neighbours start pissing on your shoes. Tech companies make decisions all the time about apps that go well beyond the strict letter of the law in countries in which they operate (Exhibit A: adult content).
If Saudis don't like it, they can roll their own, without our assistance, and without us profiting from any of it.
Be careful what you wish for. They have the money to do it. Cornering a market isn't that hard if you're doing it for strategic reasons rather than to turn a profit. And then what? We have to petition the Saudis to approve our apps?
Maybe it would be better if we didn't have a central party that controls everything for everybody, regardless of who it is.
Thus, to prevent them, you will need regulation - which stops at the border. Saudi government will have their own, and you can be sure that it'll be the kind that enables what they want to do.
On the other hand, we can boycott and embargo them. Much good that money will do them if nobody will touch it, or if the products developed with it are banned from most well-paying markets.
That would be an argument if people were given the independent choice, but the choice is tied to the phone you buy. It's not much of a choice if both of the major platforms are tied to a walled garden and the alternatives are esoteric enough that most people aren't even aware they exist.
And it is regulation keeping them that way. Third parties would sell iPhones modified to add competing app stores if there weren't laws preventing it. To say nothing of the lack of antitrust enforcement as yet -- markets don't work when there is insufficient competition.
> On the other hand, we can boycott and embargo them. Much good that money will do them if nobody will touch it, or if the products developed with it are banned from most well-paying markets.
Then they would reciprocate, oil prices would skyrocket and the dollar would fail as the reserve currency, both because of the oil market and because other countries wouldn't want to accept it if US foreign policy becomes to seize them back from a country where they were used to make trillions in purchases over decades.
You could say "and we could nuke them" with about the same probability of that actually happening.
And what would you even use to justify it, while we continue to do business with China and a dozen other countries with similarly problematic records?
Building and distributing or in any way being involved in the technology to track women in SA makes you directly responsible for the abuse that happens as a result.
Technology companies have a responsibility that comes with the power they enable, true it is very difficult to exercise properly, but in some cases it is very clear what is right and wrong.
I agree that not every situation is this easy to decide but this one -- women as chattel -- seems rather staightforward.
Corporations claim free speech rights (via corporate personhood) all the time. Not using those rights in this case seems to be quite a statement.
So your entire argument is based on your personal subjective valuation that it is straightforward.
The idea that a homosexual should be thrown from a bridge onto an oncoming train is as straightforward to a good many people as this is to you.
What you are invoking here is really 'US public opinion' or its related 'western world public opinion' circa. 2019.
If this is basically all the substance of your argument, then your position is no better than the moslem over there that thinks blasphemer should be beheaded.
What's funny is that your specious analogies try to equate this argument -- for more freedom for the Saudi women -- to others where people's freedoms are being restricted.
Might I suggest you have another go at remedial logic.
Just... wow. This app is literally designed to allow men to enforce morals on women.
It would be double standard to allow a muslim app to control real human beings but block porn.
as surely this app is offensive to not less than 50% of customers.
Though I guess it only make sense if you consider that both practice bring profits in.
Apple and Google are, and their moral guideline is money. They are in the business of making money. If the content seems close enough to illegal and small enough revenue to not be worth investigating it, or if the content is legal but costs more to host than it brings in due to backlash, it will be censored. I would even guess that content that is illegal but brings in enough money won't be banned (unless a court order comes in that isn't worth the cost to fight).
One can just look at Reddit's history of banning content and see that it bans things not based on morals or laws but on when it stopped being a revenue generation. The allowed their most popular sub-reddit for years until moral outrage grew due to a news investigation, and then banned it under the guise of being illegal and protecting minors (despite the content not being illegal, as the federal government wouldn't have allowed to continue operating had it been).
Don't Apple and Google already block plenty of legal content they don't want to deal with? Consumers should force them to explain why they are willing to deal with this specific content.
Generally speaking, tolerance goes from here to there.
Of course this might be a problem for a lot more Apps than the Saudi women's-tracker.
It's difficult to keep up segregation in a world growing together. I mean segregation of morals, though quite ironically the ambiguity works swell.
I also agree (as posted below) that a good place to start is the UN Declaration of Human Rights. We've collective agreed that this is a minimum line and should require all companies and countries to meet or exceed these requirements.
After all, if Saudi Arabia is unapologetic about Khashogi, or women's rights and defiant enough to break ties with Canada, Google and Apple can be defiant with the current international human rights council head!
The neutral thing to do was not to allow this app, but to also not allow an app that for example, helps women get out of Saudi Arabia.
This app helps clearly helps the Saudi government, and the men that choose to oppress their women (not all of them do), control the Saudi women. It makes this task easier and so helping it (by giving it a place and spreading it in your app store) isn't neutral.
This app goes against human decencies and rights and that overrides the legality.
Again, you can with both want and not want for the tech giants to police behavior of others.
This app is sending message to another person so that he can stop physically stop her and punish her. You can choose to ignore bank app and bible. You cant choose to ignore saudi police coming for you, because male guardian was notified.
But for that matter, sexual content is already heavily policed. It is not like the app stores ever claimed to be anything goes zones.
You will be surprised I guess, but I would take issue with app that facilitates genocide in Yemen. As people did. People do take issue with IBM facilitating Nazi project during wwii. I would take issue with app that notifies Islamic State or whatever militia in Syria when high target leaves.
Putting pressure on stores to take away apps that do any of the above is fine by me. Because again, there is big difference between taking Saudi money and doing business with them on one hand and distributing spyware designed to limit freedom of victim and facilitate violence against her.
So my question is this. We can all take moral high ground and demand that Google takes this this app down. But if you look at the situation broader, one can argue that the US government is a much bigger enabler than Google in this instance. Is there really a big difference how women are treated in Iran than they are in KSA, for instance? Iran is probably better off, though not by much.
Think about all that oil money that flows from US to KSA for decades. What is the real cause here? Is it just Google's failure to police their marketplace? Or have the Saudies always been this way.
Google is a very easy target here. Blame it on Google, pressure them to take the app down, problem solved. Or is it?
Ad second paragraph: how does that changes anything? Same app from Iran is same problem. Similar app watching Chinese dissidents is same issue. All would be against Google terms of services too.
You are also changing topics and goalposts. The "how to magically improve situation of women in every single oppressive country in the world" was not the topic of this thread. It was whether preventing this app constitute "asking Apple and Google to proactively police their apps, if they are designed to prevent freedoms on not" with implications for bank apps, bible and koran.
Of course pressure on Google wont solve problem. No single action will ever solve the problem. It might make the Google to contribute to the problem less. There is difference between passively not doing anything and actively contributing to the problem. That is fine.
Then again, keeping the app will not solve the freedom issue either.
That is not so.
App stores are, at best, opinionated, some more than others.
On the other side, there are multiple "kosher ISPs" with cloud-based filtering. There are even "glatt kosher" ISPs. "The Secured program will block pornography and violence; Secured Plus will also block women wearing intimate apparel; Secured Squared and Protected will filter out any immodest clothing; and Sealed will enable access only to sites with religious and modest content." In Israel, there are "kosher phones", which are either voice only or can't access the web at all. They just run rabbi-approved apps.
But things like slavery and the Holocaust make that determination, well, difficult. To say that morality is ultimately relative is ultimately to condone societies choosing to do really repugnant things to people.
There is a line to draw. That much is certain. The only question is where. I don't think we should be charging into the Sentinel Islands like a bunch of idiots and destroying their culture. But Apple choosing not to technologically enable the Saudis to further disenfranchise their women seems to be worthy.
In 1807, Britain passed the Slave Trade Act, outlawing slavery throughout the Empire. Passing the law wasn't enough to actually stop the slave trade. So the British Empire established the West Africa Squadron at considerable expense, to curb the illegal trade.
At first the squadron was hampered by the need to remain on good diplomatic terms with other European countries, but soon they signed treaties allowing Britain free reign to interdict and search ships they suspected of carrying slaves. At it's height, one sixth of the resources of the Royal Navy was devoted to curbing slavery.
What should be the arbiter of morality? I don't really know. But the public willingness to devote considerable social resources to stamping out an awful practice is a gift we shouldn't turn away.
Another example is the Latin American drug trade. The liberal-minded thing to do is to legalize drugs so that the cartels can't profit from them. But history teaches that cartels are in the business of doing nasty things, not in any one nasty business. So if they can't make mountains of cash funneling drugs across borders, they'll make hills of cash funneling humans.
It takes cross-border cooperation to smash these quasi-states, as they largely managed to do in Colombia.
Saudi Arabia is not interested in rapid social change, many many countries are doing the best they can to resist the destabilizing effects of Western technology on their traditional cultures. China has their Great Firewall. North Korea is closed off completely.
Maybe they have a point. But the West can't put the genie back in the bottle, we can't go back to a world before the Internet. And the elites in these traditional societies are perfectly fine profiting off of the tech when it's convenient for them.
So I don't really have much of a problem with Apple deciding to stick their neck out, or with us placing a moral onus on them, to stop facilitating the exploitation of humans.
(Neutrality, by the way, is IBM's present defense of Dehomag's actions in World War II: there was a market opportunity in Germany, market opportunities are not inherently immoral, and by the time Germany's morality was beyond the pale, it was too late to say no. See https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/1388.wss .)
And this isn't really neutrality, anyway. It's neutrality between the views of the powerful. The morality of Saudi Arabia is in scope; the morality of the Unabomber isn't. The morality of the LDS Church is in scope; the morality of Jews who object on religious grounds to the actions of the state of Israel isn't. The morality of China is in scope; the morality of non-authoritarian Communists isn't, because they lost all the Communist countries to authoritarians.
From another angle, neutrality can mean that no one, or no entity of a certain type, should have or should exercise certain powers of judgement or discrimination. This also does not mean that nobody is wrong.
This is true across all sorts of situation in which many different entities refrain or are urged to refrain from making particular kinds of judgements or interventions, and there are lots of potentially powerful reasons for such restraint—quite a lot of them having to do with Schelling points that different people can (eagerly or grudgingly) agree on to stop conflicts or disagreements from escalating or infecting everything.