Apple should never have been capable of making such a drastic decision for all of their customers. It's one thing to make determinations about what products are allowed in your store, but quite another to unilaterally ban software from what is many people's primary computer. We live in a digital age, and software is a form of free expression. We wouldn't find this acceptable with eBooks, and we should not find it acceptable for applications.
† Unrealistic workarounds include paying $100 per year for a developer account, reinstalling the app once every seven days, or finding a shady, stolen enterprise certificate. These are not real alternatives for 99% of people.
Make the app a Web App and visit it in Safari.
Apple has banned it being notarized and distributed from their App Store but iPhones still have access to the conventional web which Apple has no control over.
Apple also loses all code auditing and screening, meaning they can't ban GPL licensed PWAs like they ban alternative Linphone builds (as they are GPLv2), Signal Private Messenger builds (GPLv3) and only the official developer can build and submit these apps to the app store.
Apple's GPL ban also effiectively mandates these apps having broad CLAs to ensure they can relicense the code for use in the Apple App Store.
Edit: removed bonus apostrophe
This was also the music industy's fear of digital data about 20-30 years ago.
Both the Music industry and Apple seek to maintain their control and thus their cash cows, but whether that will continue to work out for Apple remains to be seen...
And what is it's replacement? It seems in app purchases are what keeps up a large part of mobile apps.
iTunes changed the music business, but I have not noticed a similar change for mobile apps, web or not.
If I make my app available via my website as a PWA, and all the hosting costs are my own, and don't use any of the app store's services, why does Apple deserve a share of the in app (in PWA?) purchases?
Anyway, the message is pretty obvious: Apple won’t ship anything that’s licensed under GPL v3 on OS X. Now, why is that?
There are two big changes in GPL v3. The first is that it explicitly prohibits patent lawsuits against people for actually using the GPL-licensed software you ship. The second is that it carefully prevents TiVoization, locking down hardware so that people can’t actually run the software they want.
So, which of those things are they planning for OS X, eh?
I’m also intrigued to see how far they are prepared to go with this. They already annoyed and inconvenienced a lot of people with the Samba and GCC removal. Having wooed so many developers to the Mac in the last decade, are they really prepared to throw away all that goodwill by shipping obsolete tools and making it a pain in the ass to upgrade them?
The consequence is that Apple can't merely settle to solve patent disputes for any included GPLv3 component, but has to find a way to have the upstream component (and all deviations) have free use of the patent.
There is a way for end users to modify their software now, but I don’t know if it would satisfy that developer. VLC relicensed to make clear they don’t require distributors to do this.
As far as I can discern, Linphone is provided in the App Store under a proprietary license, VLC had to relicense as LGPL, and GNU Go is still not on the App Store.
And anyway, a PWA should be actually progressive. If it requires all the features it’s the opposite of progressive.
The original point was that apparently there are no "work arounds" not mentioning that it could be done via WebApp seems a little disingenous.
Pointing out a "work around" for the developer is meaningless, in terms of "hey! they can reimplement it as a web app to bypass Apple's shitty walled garden!" is completely useless to these folks in HongKong right now.
Part of these are social network effects (all my friends use it, plus the apps they use need you to use the same apps, meaning you have to use the same OS or one of the big ones, etc).
Part of them are actual network effects (you've already used the same g-suite or whatever apple provides, and moving to something else - if it exists at all - is either very difficult or impossible).
I'm sure there's others I am not thinking of right now.
But both leave only the "hardcore" privacy and open source activists as your only market - and that's so small that only others of similar persuasion even both to create and host those alternatives, if they exist at all. Since the market is small, and developers/time is lacking, UI and other parts of such apps/operating systems/ecospaces tend to be non-existant or suffer other oddities that keep them out of being adopted by the masses, unless those people get fed up enough with the existing products to be willing to put up with all the downsides of a more free and open system.
Which is kinda where Linux is today - a combination of becoming "good enough" - but also coupled with more than a bit of "corporate America" (and/or "corporate west") helping to make it just a tad better (for business use, for gaming, etc) - and the masses who are getting fed up with Apple and/or Microsoft - a few of them peel off to see what it's all about. Dual boot, or virtualization (and Microsoft has made that easier, too), they get a taste, and some think "hey this isn't really that bad - I can do almost everything" and some migrate over (with the big exception - games - but Valve and Steam are helping in that regard, too).
That's what is needed in the mobile realm, and nothing exists yet. Yes, there are alternatives, but the real bugger has been the hardware - which is very locked down, and only (again) the hardcore and activists are willing to go the extra mile to break open (root, jailbreak) consumer-available hardware, or purchase already "open" hardware, or go so far as to build their own hardware (I am contemplating this option, personally).
Until it gets easier for the "masses" to get a more open hardware mobile platform, the next step of an open ecosystem, operating systems, and apps is much for difficult to make happen. With Apple and Samsung being the main two hardware providers (for iOS and Android respectively), with the way both lock down their hardware, it will stay this way.
But really - for Android at least - Samsung does this mainly for the providers themselves. For instance (in my case), I have a G7 - but it's a T-Mobile version. I paid for it in full (I don't have a contract with T-Mobile, but they are my provider) - but Samsung provides a different version of the G7 (with a different processor and such) than they do outside the USA. That hardware is much easier to root, while the USA version is seemingly made to be as airtight as possible to root (with a constant back-and-forth game being played behind the scenes). It is strange - it's partly Samsung, partly the providers.
Ultimately, I'm just going to opt-out of this hardware game and build my own platform; I already have the 4G module to support phone and data (and I am planning on using it for data only, as I virtually never use my phone for voice calls). If I am lucky, it will be my winter project.
So true, which is why we need antitrust enforcement. If you run a platform or a service, you have to provide access to that platform or service to your competitors under the exact same terms as your customers. Anything less is the definition of anti-competitive.
In addition there is nothing stopping them for trading their iPhone for a more expensive Android.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is a likely outcome.
Documentation on iPhone hardware is basically nonexistent. Someone would need to reverse engineer it all and write drivers from scratch.
Hong Kong has multiple private companies providing eyeball access. It would be far more difficult for the Chinese government to get all of their compliance. If they just wanted to get traffic information, it would be far easier to just collect a statistical sampling collected from flows data on core routers for general info or to monitor specific IP's using rulesets without the massive undertaking needed for always on firewall capabilities on every single packet.
The other aspect of the Great Firewall is the alternative ecosystem inside it, and the censorship system embedded in weibo etc. It will be interesting to see if surveillance capitalism apps like Wepay and Alipay suffer a setback in HK in the wake of the protests. Cf
I don't think this is accurate, though it may come to be in the future. Which is sort of the point, why allow the techno dystopia to come?
Is the web censored in HK?
You mean years ago?
Not that I support this move by Apple, but ... how is this different from them rejecting any application for any reason? We've had a ton of stories on HN of them doing that (for various different reasons)...
Apple's position was never okay, and I hope this situation makes more people realize that.
Let's not pretend this is business as usual, however morally bad the usual business already is.
People always seem to think of this as a false dichotomy, so I want to emphasize again that I think Apple's curated App Store is great. It just shouldn't be the only way to acquire software.
- Have a store with, say, quality control, and the option to side-load
- Have a store with "quality control" (and, as I see it, some rather large levers to fight competition), no option to side-load, but don't bow to state actors
- same, but bow to state actors.
I wish it's the first, I thought it's the second, but we now see it's the third. I think the the third is worse than the second option.
Bowing to state actors is a decision individuals make.
If the platform gives specific people the ability to bow on behalf of everyone (as iOS does - reviewers have that power), eventually some of those people will do so.
A centralized app store must at least bow to the state actors where its business operations and servers live. Otherwise the state actors will take their hardware and remove the business from existence.
If the OS supports direct installation, then you avoid the inherent risks of centralized software.
Granted, you gain the risks of decentralized software.
Magic bullets are few and far between.
This isn't new. Apple has always bowed to state actors in order to damage minorities, literally ever since the app store launched with it's censorship targeting sex workers and sexual minorities on behest of the US government.
This one is just more obvious, but not new.
Was it okay when Apple got rid of Alex Jones's app? He was spreading misinformation about vaccines, that's pretty darn dangerous. I guess you could argue that wasn't due to a "state actor", but is anti-Hong-Kong pressure from Chinese citizens all that different?
And here's the thing—I do think platform holders sometimes need to make moral judgements, and I'm glad Alex Jones is banned from the App Store. I'm significantly less glad that it's completely impossible to install his app anymore. It's the difference between not actively giving someone a megaphone, and actually banning speech.
The difference is between taking something down because you agree with the rationale the entity-that-wants-something-taken-down gives you, such that you'd do it even without that entity in existence as long as you knew the information they told you; vs. being intimidated by that entity into doing so, such that without the entity, you'd have never done anything.
In any case, I'm allowed to make a moral judgement. We do this all the time: Breaking the law is bad, but stealing is less "bad" than killing. And so on.
I know right? It's crazy people pay more money for less.
I'm not sure how to teach Apple users, they seem to find an excuse for every anti-consumer thing they do.
There are real benefits to having a curated, sandboxed, and audited selection of safe, quality software. Most users should never need to leave such an environment
What is necessary is an escape hatch—one that doesn't involve continual software reinstalls, or outright buying new hardware. It's fine to hide the option away in settings, where most users won't find it. But in extraordinary circumstances—like when your city is rioting against your government—people will help each other locate the switch, and download what they need to stay safe.
I can't totally disagree. To have a completely secure device you have to lock out the user since the user is often the least secure component of the system.
A modern security and privacy conscious OS would be "principle of least privilege" from the ground up. It would be written into the DNA of the kernel and OS from the first line of code, not bolted on later via permission managers and leaky APIs and then mandatory notarization by a central authority to work around the fact that the whole mess is still insecure.
We do have something like that. It's called a web browser. A browser is a small VM that runs utterly untrusted code relatively safely. In many cases it's code from the sketchiest ad networks and other hellholes imaginable.
Imagine if your real OS were like that. Install anything even known malware with fairly strong confidence that you're safe and that it can't do anything you don't explicitly grant to it.
> We do have something like that. It's called a web browser. A browser is a small VM that runs utterly untrusted code relatively safely. In many cases it's code from the sketchiest ad networks and other hellholes imaginable.
Given how many issues there are with ad tracking, fingerprinting, and other privacy related issues, I don't feel the web browser is particularly safer than an iOS app. What can an iOS app really do that a browser app cannot at this point?
>He says that you can opt out of code signing and the App Store on Mac because that's a professional OS
And this is why he's wrong: it's NOT a "professional OS". My sister has a Macbook Air, running MacOS. She's not a professional (computer user). Mac computers aren't just for "professionals" (esp. software devs), they're sold to anyone who wants something with a bigger screen than a mobile phone or tablet, and wants a keyboard to type on and wants to be able to have a normal filesystem to work with. In short, anyone who still wants to be able to use a normal PC.
She uses her Mac for typing documents (she likes to write), watching movies, etc. She is absolutely NOT what I consider a "tech-savvy user". So why does she "need" to be able to opt out of code signing and the App Store?
So, no, he's completely wrong. If Apple only sold their computers to software devs, he'd have a good argument, but they don't, so he doesn't.
My two real beefs with this arrangement are the requirement of a Mac, and the potential use of the App Store curation to block apps for political reasons, as is happening with HKmap.live.
Fwiw, it’s not one-time. It’s $100 every single year.
It's not that they're paying more for less; it's that they're paying more for a curated less. For the vast majority of Apple's customers, this works out great (provided they aren't ever going to engage in an antigovernment protest).
Please don't get it twisted. What Apple does has value to many people; it's not as black-and-white as you seem to make it out to be.
There is nothing on this world, nothing, is good anytime anywhere to anyone.
Hopefully this alleviates the immediate negative consequences of the removal.
Microsoft tried the same crap with their store, which was fortunately rejected to a large degree. The future of software shouldn't look so backwards. I can understand users being drawn in by accessibility, which is hard to realize for more open systems. But I don't really understand developers choosing Apple aside from monetary opportunities.
Macs try to go in a similar direction, so these comments saying I shouldn't care about app notarization are nothing but short sighted in my opinion. Because the security benefit is minuscule and new dangers like this pretty impalpable but nevertheless very real and the degree of enforcement of these mechanism will certainly increase as soon as Apple sees the opportunity.
Overall a crappy platform to develop against.
I don't like it either, but don't fool yourself: lots of people don't care. They don't care if it's "their device" or not. They're perfectly happy to pay $1200 for a high-end device they don't have full control of, because it signals wealth, and does what they want it to do.
Just look at how many people lease cars instead of buying them. It's not that different; they don't own those cars, they're really just renting them. They're not allowed to modify them, and can get in trouble if they don't follow the maintenance schedule or drive them too much. But for those people, they're fine with that.
>Microsoft tried the same crap with their store, which was fortunately rejected to a large degree.
This is probably for at least two reasons. 1) There was already a huge ecosystem of Windows software out there, long before MS tried to ape Apple. Those companies were already successful in selling their apps directly to customers, without having to give MS a 30% cut. Why would they want to adopt MS's new strategy? 2) MS being MS, they most likely bungled it in some way. This happens every time they try to ape Apple or someone else; the first few iterations are absolutely terrible and a big joke. Sometimes they persist and it finally works out for them, other times they finally give up (e.g., PlaysForSure, Zune).
Imagine you're a Hong Kong protester. You're spending a significant portion of your time in the streets, and the rest at work, or school, or whatever other life tasks you're responsible for. Do you really want to spend an hour reading up on how to Jailbreak your phone? And then, because this is a "tethered" Jailbreak, what happens if your phone reboots and you're not near a computer?
There is a balance to be struck here. Sideloading can't be too easy, lest people get tricked into doing it. But it shouldn't require more than five minutes, and it should be a one-time process. (Or at least nearly-one-time: making it annual might be reasonable.)
But the downside is of course that Apple is in control, and like any corporation it will do things with that power that are unethical, immoral, anti-competitive, anti-consumer, etc. to the fullest possible imaginable degree.
Its like when you buy a DRM protected piece of content and that company revokes access in the future. Its entirely predictable and preventable.
Customers buy DRM content all the time and they buy Apple products instead of phones that give you freedom. Ignorance is not an excuse, I won't blame Apple, they aren't people, they just do what is natural in all corporations, I blame people/consumers, they deserve every single last bit of totalitarianism that is coming their way.
There is nothing wrong with code signing. There is everything wrong with making Apple the sole arbiter of mandatory code signing. It's the difference between being against locks, and being against someone else owning the keys to your house.
> I won't blame Apple, they aren't people [...] I blame people/consumers
No, you can't blame people. It isn't the individual consumer's job to consider the ins and outs of how they may be limiting their free expression in the future. That's not realistic.
Corporations are not robots; Apple is run by people, and specifically people who should be considerably more knowledgable on this subject than the average consumer. They should feel some level of social responsibility.
This will not be the last time Apple ends up in this type of situation. I hope we have the right conversations about them, and I hope they make Apple hurt. Because this was entirely predictable, and entirely of Apple's own making.
Sometimes I wonder how many instances to the contrary people need to get this falsehood out of their heads. Corporations are only beholden to their shareholders, if any one person at Apple (including the CEO) is not at all times acting solely to maximize the profit to their shareholders they will be replaced by someone who will. The government has to force corporations to their will through tight regulations, consumer protection and anti-trust legislation. Why are all corporations spending this incredible amount on political corruption/"lobbying", its because all these things work.
Why do we consider it acceptable for CEOs to shrug off any and all social consequences of their actions? We can and should outlaw actions that are socially harmful, but we shouldn't just shrug our shoulders when powerful people find ways to skirt those rules to enrich themselves.
Anyway, even if it were true in practice, this is entirely the result of laws and court decisions. Governments could change it with the stroke of a pen.
Google apple largest shareholders
Being a software engineer I side with consumers more as I use a ton of services, but that's the flip side to the convince the consumer has absolutely no ownership to anything.
You sure about that? I mean yeah, "we" as in at least you and I, but the general public... I still enjoy https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.en.html as prophetic fiction and occasionally remember that around 10 years ago Amazon in reality remotely deleted copies of Orwell's 1984 from kindle devices when Amazon learned that version of the book was put on their kindle store without authorization. (But at least on the issue here Amazon does better, it's not hard to load your own mobis or convert things to mobi format. I suspect the kindle would still be very popular without such ease though.)
...no, sadly I'm not sure. The point I wanted to make is that banning certain apps is no better than banning certain books.
I originally wanted to write something like "We wouldn't be okay if certain books were banned on certain brands of bookshelves", precisely for the reason you mention—but I decided the comparison would be too weird.
That said, I don't think it's a coincidence that every e-reader (as far as I'm aware?) allows sideloading, including the Kindle line, which Amazon sells at a loss. The optics of any company "banning books" would just be too poor. I wish the optics on "banning software" were equally poor.
It's not your iphone/ipad/Macbook, it's Tim's iphone/ipad/Macbook that he deigns to let you use, but only at his pleasure and only to do what he thinks is OK.
If I have a good reason, I can toggle a setting and install APKs built by anyone. If I have a good reason, I can wipe my phone and unlock the bootloader to literally replace and de-Google the entire OS.
When I buy a phone, it's a hardware product I'm buying. Just like when you buy a PC/laptop, what you run on it is your business, not the manufacturers. It's certain nice that Dell pre-loads Windows 10 on their laptops, but if I want to run Linux, I can.
>but I want my phone to just work
You also have the freedom to stay in the walled garden. The difference is you have to option to run different software if you so choose, and having that freedom is so much more important to me than how slick the UI is or how good the ecosystem is.
I don't own any Apple products, although I was strongly considering switching to iPhone a few years back. These recent developments confirm that I definitely made the right choice staying with Android.
You don't hear about 14 million iPhones being infected by malware, do you? Or malware stealing users' bank credentials? Heck, there are people whose brand new phone comes pre-loaded with malware. Oh, this one was just posted five hours ago -- applications on the Google Play store load with trojans and spyware.
I can keep going, but the point is: if any platform is "second-class", it's Android by far. I'll pick the one that doesn't have apps on its official App Store rooting my phone and installing spyware.
People in favour of "more guns" are fully aware that more guns means a more dangerous society. But they consider the freedom to choose whether to own guns more important than living in a statistically safer society.
Whereas, people in favour of "gun control" consider the safety of society overall to be much more important than the freedom to own devices designed to kill people.
To me, that's what Android vs iPhone represents with respect to freedom. Android gives you more freedom to choose different devices, but at the cost of most devices not getting security and OS updates.
Likewise, Android gives you the freedom to side-load all kinds of things onto your devices, and of course the Android ecosystem is chock-full of malware.
The proponent of freedom says, "Yes, I understand that this is a much more dangerous ecosystem, but I value the freedom to defend myself."
The proponent of safety says, "There are some dangers that are best met by a centralized, platform defence, not by individuals."
Philosophically, I understand both arguments, even if I am very clearly in one of the two camps with no interest whatsoever in switching to the other.
I don't expect my smartphone to be "open" and fulfilling my principles of "freedom". I do expect that from my _computer_, but I don't carry my computer in my pocket and across borders and put it in other peoples' hands to show them photos (for example).
I also don't connect my computer to unknown wireless networks, whereas my smartphone has bluetooth enabled and is basically constantly connected to unfamiliar wireless networks (work/hotel/cafe/library/neighbour/etc.), any of which may include malicious actors who are scanning for vulnerable devices. A pretty solid use case for which I'll choose the device that is far less likely to be owned.
The problem with guns is that it's mostly binary. Either you live in a society with guns, or without. You don't really have a choice once you're in that society: if you live in the US and don't like guns, that's too bad, because other people can have them, and they can shoot at you with them; you being anti-gun isn't going to help you much if some wacko decides to come to your school and shoot everyone. Or, if you live in Singapore and like guns, that's too bad, because you're not allowed to own one there at all, and if someone somehow manages to smuggle one in and shoot at you, you won't be able to shoot back.
>Android gives you more freedom to choose different devices, but at the cost of most devices not getting security and OS updates.
The key here is you have choice, and your choice completely changes your experience.
So if you get some crappy Android device from a mfgr that doesn't bother with security and OS updates, you could be infected with malware. Whereas if you get a good Android device from a mfgr that does regular updates, you're much less likely to be infected.
>Likewise, Android gives you the freedom to side-load all kinds of things onto your devices, and of course the Android ecosystem is chock-full of malware.
Again, your choice changes your experience. No one is forcing you to side-load apps. If you want to stick with the curated Google Play store (like 99% of users), you can do that. And even there, if you're careful about which apps you load, and stick only to well-known and reputable ones, then again you'll probably avoid any malware problems. No one is forcing you to install some random Chinese-made app that's obviously malware, even though those do exist on the Play store unfortunately. Unlike with guns, the fact that other people with other phones may be installing malware on their devices doesn't affect you: you're not going to get malware because some differnt mfgr doesn't do updates, or because some apps that you never install are malware and are available on the Play store.
The Chinese believe in the Apple model of safety, greater good, social harmony, and the ends justifying the means over individual liberties. The concentration camps, great firewall, IP theft, everything we see as dysfunctional about China stems from this belief system.
Americans don't believe in the "greater good" or "the ends justify the means" and it results in uniquely American dysfunctions like mass shootings and homeless people shitting in the street in SF.
Still, like you, I have no interest in switching to the other camp. It is a basic value system ingrained in me.
However, in the US, we do have concentration camps. We call them "migrant detention centers", and people are forced to drink water from the toilet there, and small children are forcibly separate from their mothers. It seems to me that the US is more similar to China than you think.
> The Chinese believe in the Apple model of safety, greater good, social harmony, and the ends justifying the means over individual liberties. The concentration camps, great firewall, IP theft, everything we see as dysfunctional about China stems from this belief system.
By "Chinese" do you mean the Chinese people, Chinese culture, of the Communist Party of China?
(1) Probably. It's an open source OS, so no telling categorically what hardware it's driving ;)
I'm technical so I like tinkering and don't care a whit for Apple's locked down ecosystem and it's cost of entry, so I avoid it. But I'm totally aware of the reasons Apple make their business decisions. Their loyal fan base and easy interoperability of their products is testament to this. It has brought many technological solutions into the hands of the non-technical consumer, which has benefitted us technical folks by bringing attention to what can be achieved by technology.
(I'm not crediting Apple with this in its entirety, far from it, but they brought non-technical attention to the technical arena)
Anyone on HN complaining that their iDevice doesn't give them sufficient 'freedom of ownership' is willfully ignorant of Apple's well publicized and infinitely discussed closed system strategy.
P.S. LineageOS for the win.
I'd pick being able to run whatever I want over Apples choice of apps any day.
"Try very hard" == be on a wifi network, or download an app that appears to be completely legit from the vendor's own digital distribution platform? OK :)
> On the bright side, most of the harmful software appears to have been purged by Google. “If not all of these apps, then definitely most of them are not available on Google Play anymore,” Stefanko told TNW.
This is a trade off of having an open ecosystem. I only install well reviewed and well known, quality apps so I have never had any malware on the dozens of phones I have owned over the years. I prefer having a small chance of being infected by malware by my own actions over a closed ecosystem and only being able to install what Google deems worthy on my device any day.
No, but I have heard of 400 million iPhones being infected by malware via Xcodeghost. This is serious data exfiltrating malware, not simply ad popup malware, and this is on the official app store and legitimately sourced devices unlike the malware in your first three links.
This is not possible for many (and I suspect the majority of) android phones.
But it is.
You can install APKs from anyone on any phone. It's a feature of the OS.
> I can wipe my phone and unlock the bootloader to literally replace and de-Google the entire OS.
I've never had an Android phone I couldn't unlock and flash. From the original Evo to Pixel 2.
I have an iPhone as of two months ago. I just wanted to try something new. The amount of restricted access to things is boggling. I can't even download an mp3 on Safari or Chrome. I thought I was doing something wrong and spent 2 hours trying to figure out what. Then I learned it was just the phone.
> I've never had an Android phone I couldn't unlock and flash.
I've been using Android as long as I've had a smart phone, and I've never had a phone that I could flash. You should remember that most people don't have expensive flagship model phones.
Until you stray away from a handful of manufacturers that are nice enough to let you do this.
> I can't even download an mp3 on Safari or Chrome.
Safari has a download manager in iOS 13.
We spent a good amount of time over a year keeping the Evo unlocked whenever HTC would try to patch things. I'd like to think that helped set the tone for bootloader unlockability going forward.
But to be honest, I've been in the Nexus and Pixel ecosystem since then so I haven't really seen how things have shaped up
But... if this statement were true in spirit as well then why don’t we see google seizing this PR opportunity and making statements about the superiority of their App Store’s more liberal model? Why do we instead see Google quietly removing HK-protest related apps too?
I guess the moral is that both Apple and Google will kowtow to the desires of the Chinese government in these cases and it’s mostly circumstantial that Google cannot so thoroughly lock down their systems
In settings, enable "allow installation of apps from unknown sources". Then download the .apk file from your web browser / dropbox / whatever, and tap to install. It's literally a single-setting toggle to let you install any apk from anywhere.
>Google quietly removing HK-protest related apps
Like what? The app that Apple removed is alive and well in the Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=live.hkmap.app...
Though I concede that this app is more objectively pro-protestor (rather than general public safety) and the statements from google feel more like generic policy than obvious bowing to pressure.
> A Google spokesman said that “The Revolution Of Our Times” app, which lets users role-play as Hong Kong protesters, violated a long-standing policy “prohibiting developers from capitalizing on sensitive events, such as attempting to make money from serious ongoing conflicts or tragedies through a game”.
I guess if they remove the IAPs it would be okay?
It's pretty easy, in fact when I got a new phone and tried to install the f-droid apk, android took me directly to the setting to toggle side loading apps. The permissions seemed even a little more fine grained than before with a seperate one to allow f-droid to install apps also, but still only one tap away once I actually tried to do it.
I’m not sure how I found F-droid. I think it was from knowing I wanted free software, finding myself overwhelmed with crap in the regular App Store and some combination of luck/determination.
In the case of the protests in Hong Kong I think there is sufficient motivation to go through these potentially tricky/scary steps and there would, if necessary, surely be resources on how to do it.
But that’s also a situation where following instructions from some crowd to download some apps from some non-google source is risky. It seems that if people were doing this then it wouldn’t be long until there was a reasonable chance of being tricked into downloading CCP-sponsored malware
You can say the same about any end to end encrypted service. Setting yourself up to not be able to bow to unreasonable request is the best defense and can be quite the extra effort. And I'm thankful for companies doing so.
Thing I don't understand why Apple made that decision. In their position I'd would have fought very hard to get gov (preferably HK) order the removal and then just "having to comply". But it's probably the natural consequence of wanting to curate entire availability beyond just in-store generate content (e.g. advertising, search ranking and so on). Again, it matters what you set yourself up to be.
Well, there's a balance here. If it's too easy, some users will be tricked into installing malware.
I think Android is a good compromise. If you're even a tiny bit technically inclined, you can enable sideloading in a couple of minutes at most, and it's a one-time process.
How does that not fit your definition of "too easy"? If it can be disabled in minutes and any attempt to install an unauthorized APK takes you right to the screen, it seems completely pointless.
Regardless, I think there's a world of difference between "Tap an app to install and run" and "tap an app and move through several dialogue boxes, which include a scary security warning." It's not perfect, but it's leagues better than Apple's alternative...
Not to me.
What do you mean? Android is FOSS not closed-source.
Android wouldn't allow an app to be installed on official phones if Google didn't want so, and unofficial ones are built in China anyway plus often already ridden with spyware. The only workaround would be a 100% FOSS phone where the user is king and decides what would run or not.
Pine64.org devs, are you listening?
And if they can, what stops a user from swizzling identifiers for the APK and reinstalling it?
Things like the Play store are entirely closed source. A majority of the API shipped by the Play store are closed source. Many hardware drivers are closed source. The majority of the operating system is Apache licensed, allowing a handset maker to ship modified components without publishing their changes.
Many vendors also prevent the user from installing their own custom ROMs, so even a sophisticated user may not be able to run AOSP on an arbitrary device.
Also in comparison to iOS, Android is a heck of a lot more open. Apple can ship whatever they want and no one would be none the wiser. Plus you can't install whatever software you want on an Apple device, and are restricted to what Apple thinks is acceptable.
This is why we need to support efforts to create and maintain such platforms. Even taking a moment to spread the word is helpful here.
Likewise, letting Hong Kong go back to that fucked up dystopia by hampering their ability to organize is messed up.
The user was stating how freedom is much more entangled into our everyday purchase and use of our devices.
Also, what happens to your mindset when the "foreign countries" are no longer foreign and now domestic?
But one is not keeping it's promise obviously.
"the foxes have verified that the app has been used by hens to ambush foxes"
I think this is very serious and it should be a wake-up call.
As simple citizens we don't have much choices but vote with our wallets and use social networks to attack the most valuable asset of those companies, their reputation.
You need to fight fire with fire: governments of the world (especially the US government) need to create laws that restrict and punish this kind of behavior. Otherwise, I sincerely doubt Apple’s going to even notice the missing couple hundred thousand dollars of revenue because of principled “voting with your wallet”.
You're totally mistaken if you believe that boycotts and the like aren't taken seriously by big companies, especially companies like Apple where the brand is more important than the product. Of course, it all depends on the size of the boycott, but it doesn't have to cost them millions to become a major problem.
Big companies may still want to do business in China, but they need stronger footholds in other markets to offset the risk.
We can have a world where companies produce good products and act in accordance with democratic, liberal ideology.
Apples marketing claim in the recent years has been users privacy concerns. So why shouldn't such a move be also just as relevant as the marketing in the recent years?
I find it interesting how the blame shifting works these days. While with Blizzard, all the hate goes to Blizzard, with Apple there seem to be at least two fronts. One blaming Apple, the other aiming away from them towards China.
And we already see what government with laws created to restrict and punish behavior can do. Of course, our government will never do that, we know they'd always use their immense powers responsibly and for the good of the people, right? Right?!
That being said, I try to hear out other viewpoints because it’s entirely possible that I am wrong. So, tell me, what law would fix this situation? A law that forces tech corporations to allow free speech? Or a law that forces companies to put ethics before profits? I genuinely don’t know what law we could make that would address the issue while also being fair and enforceable. It seems a lot easier to get the people to rally behind a boycott than to get legislators to have a good idea and actually act upon it.
and as we all know, governments are becoming a thing of the past. too slow too bad. I welcome our technotopia overlords
But they don't have more power than nation states. Last I checked nation states had guns, and guns are still very much the real source of all power in this world.
Apple has a lot of money. That makes them economically dependent on a larger surface area of not only nation states but other corporations. In a way it gives them less power.
A more personal analogy: a regular old Joe or Jane can say anything they want on social media with little fear of anything bad happening because their economic dependency surface area is small. A corporate CEO must watch what they say much more carefully, as Elon Musk learned with his various stupid tweets. A government official on the other hand, like Trump, can say asinine provocative things all day with little consequence because he's in a high position in an organization with guns. Xi Jinpeng is even more immune as his government has fewer checks and balances.
In terms of practical freedom of speech and political/social action, being rich outside the protection of the state is probably the least powerful position you can be in.
The wealthy can hire armies of lobbyists, lawyers, and in some countries mercenaries. A regular old Joe can say anything, sure, but if they're in the wrong country when they do they might end up in prison or just disappear. If you're rich and "economically dependent" the worst that generally happens is your ROI goes down. The horror!
(search for sections 2.3 and 2.3.1)
That the tech industry has been a primary player in enabling this.
Each and every one of us needs to have a nice long think about our own ethics and what we're willing to support.
I don't see how an impeachment inquiry (even if legally a bit vague) as "violent", "sudden", or "illegal", nor is it a seizure of power, since it is just an inquiry.
If you want to argue that ordering witnesses for investigations without first declaring a formal vote on an impeachment inquiry is illegal, you won't find the Constitution or CRS reports state that a vote must be held for such orders to be valid.
Collective action is more effective when it's done via law because that removes the incentive to defect for personal gain. It means that people not paying attention aren't accidentally contributing to immoral causes.
In a case like this collective action means things like putting tarrifs on goods from China, so that their workforce isn't important, and banning exports to China, so that their market isn't important. More direct laws like "no censoring what China wants you to censor" are problematic because it's hard to detect in most cases, and it often violates freedom of speech.
And yes, I'm suggesting a very painful thing to do economically.
On my Google Pixel 3a, I can download AOSP to my own computer, modify it how I wish, scrape the vendor dependencies I need, compile it myself, sign it myself, and use my own key to control what OS gets installed, then relock the bootloader so it only trusts updates using my key! I can choose not to use Google Play and then install whatever App I want on it.
I wish I could not have to use any proprietaryy binaries, but this is as close to an open device that you can get today .
 This is where the quasi defense comes in. AOSP has no official process to install all of the vendor binaries needed to support carriers. If you don't include this process you get broken SMS, Calling, WiFi Calling. This script helps you do it:
 Yes I know of the Librem 5. I am a day one backer and have yet to get a shipping notification despite shipping starting in Sept. I also know of the Pinephone, it is not publically available. I await the day those types of products are viable.
Moving forward, my biggest purchasing decision as a consumer is going to be based on how much ties a company has to The CCP. I feel like my freedom is under direct threat from The CCP more than anything else, and I'll treat it accordingly when making purchasing decisions moving forward.
It tried to and would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids.
Did you not read the memo?
As you have noticed, neither one really have consumer and citizen interests at heart.
I'm planning on taking the step of opting out completely. I plan to build my own "phone". I recently purchased a low-cost Mini-PCIe 4G module, antennas, and a USB adapter. I should be able to tether it to a RasPi.
My "phone" won't actually look like a phone; it's going to be more of a "data terminal" - something to hack on, send/receive data, and have SMS texting capabilities. I pretty much never use voice calling anyway.
Everything I plan on doing, others have already done in various forms. You can find Raspberry Pi based homebrew "cell phones". People have also made similar phones using the Arduino and the ESP microcontrollers (8266, 12, 32, etc), among others (there are probably PIC and Propellor based phones, too - heck, I wouldn't be surprised if someone repurposed a modern 8051 or 52, or Z80 core controller for such a device). Some of these phones are purely basic - make and take calls, maybe some stored phone numbers. Other run entire operating systems under-the-hood.
I guess what I am saying here is that if you have electronics hacking skills, consider a homebrew phone an option. It may not be pretty, it may not be svelte, it may not even be 4G (2 and 3G modules are cheaper and more common) - but it will be (mostly - unless you have your own mad skills at FPGA design and more) yours.
Bonus points if you make it run on TempleOS!
If you don't have those skills? Well - it wouldn't be a bad project to work towards. Don't take it on as your "first project" though - instead, build up to it, then when you think you have enough experience to take it on, go thru your idea, break it down into manageable parts, and work on those individually for small successes, and later, start merging them together - just like any large project, success is more a matter of "divide and conquer", as looking at it as a whole can lead to feeling inadequate, or being demoralized at finishing, etc...
I'd like to do that, honestly, but I need navigation or I'm completely helpless in the city.
Apple is responding to a threat from China, whereas Google is actively assisting the Chinese. Just thought you'd like to know that.
If this was a straight-up choice between only the US market or only the Chinese market, they would be picking the US.
Protestors have to change that calculus.
They have the ability to almost instantly evaporate a multi-billion dollar market. That is the kind of "wallet power" (somewhat idealistic) democratic-capitalist consumers like to think they have, but never really execute on with the same impact. This isn't defeatism on my part - things could be different - but they aren't for now.
Easy. So easy.
If I don't use Apple products, I can't get my apps removed by the Chinese government.
You might get downvoted anyway, but this seems to be the HN equivalent of clown makeup, and will encourage some of the srs bsns police to overlook your post.
- Oct 6th: Apple first rejected the app ,
- Oct 8th: Apple then approved it after criticism for rejection 
- Oct 9th: Apple removed it after criticism from the CPC (this story)
"HKmap.live, [...], received approval from Apple on October 4 and was made available for download on October 5, according to the developer"
Even John Gruber agrees: 
> I still haven’t seen which local laws it violates, other than the unwritten law of pissing off Beijing.
> This is a bad look for Apple, if you think capitulation is a bad look.
privacy is not possible in a world where governments are free to suppress the speech and will of the people. any company claiming otherwise simply sees their bottom line as more important than people, whether they are employees or customers.
To me Apple is the worst here because Tim and team have no shame, they will strut upon their stage at their own conferences about how they stand for rights but when the show lights are off they act completely different.
The chances that they keep up an app that people use to gain unwanted transparency into any state is exactly 0%
The framework needs to change. It's possible for the value of a company to be judged on more than just revenues.
Isn't is possible (yes) for people to care about principles in their homeland, where it matters to them more and impacts them more? I care a lot more about my hometown than BFE Chinese countryside, even though in principle I want them to have a living wage, decent time off, and good health care.
I am still angry at Apple, the NBA, Blizzard and the rest. I think this is a darker shade of grey, though.
China is bad. By capitulating to them after having declared themselves the enforcer of all that is good and holy, Apple has thus committed hypocrisy.
“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Kind of like someone who would make a fuss about not using plastic straws but systematically takes their car for <500 meters trips and washes their pants 5 times a week.
It's not a bad idea to remind people that if they make the effort of not using online services which compromise for China, they also should make the similar effort of reducing their physical Made in China goods consumption.
I really don't get this. Apple has done far more than any other company in the whole industry to fight for privacy rights. They have gone right up against the legal limits every time, while all the other vendors rolled over belly up at the slightest chance.
iMessage is one of the most secure messaging systems available anywhere and is very widely used in China. For most Chinese it's the only practical secure communications system they can buy. It puts industrial strength end to end encryption in the hands of millions of Chinese.
So I get you're angry about china, that's fine. I have family over there, so I know what it's like. But going after Apple, of all the companies doing business in China you could go after, just makes no sense to me whatever.
But China doesn't allow stuff like that, surely there is a backdoor.
Unless Apple happened to be a Chinese company I'm having a trouble at finding the law that Apple is breaking. I'm sure the customers can decide if a shiny iPhone produced by an company subject to Chinese law is worth it and employees can decide if they want to be employed by a Chinese company.
E.g. It was ethical but illegal for some to refuse participation in the holocaust.
Law encodes what those in power want you to do. Ethics encodes what society wants you to do. The two are rarely entirely aligned.
"Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us."
That to me is hypocritical as to what Apple is doing in China.