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Apple tells Telegram to take down protestor channels in Belarus (iphoneincanada.ca)
1512 points by tomekw on Oct 10, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 607 comments

Here is a source in Russian [0] saying that Apple is asking Telegram to remove messages that de-anonymize Belorussian police members, rather than blocking channels outright. I don't know whether their source is reliable, but here is the relevant snippet (google translate):

> Apple says it didn’t require any channels to be removed. But they demanded to immediately remove any information that discloses someone's data on the Internet without the consent of these persons, as well as content aimed at specific people in accordance with the rules of the App Store.

This refers to the efforts of the Belorussian opposition to 'unmask' members of the riot police by posting their personal details online. Without going into the moral weeds, from the terms-of-service point of view that's basically griefing, no?

So this is a very curious quandary Apple finds itself in. Let's assume that griefing Belorussian law enforcement is a good thing. But at the same time griefing people (regardless of whether they are bad/good/chaotic neutral) is against the TOS.

So what do you do if you are Apple?

[0] https://tjournal.ru/tech/221326-apple-zayavila-chto-ne-trebo...

One issue is that public attitudes to doxxing vary between places. What is unacceptable in America may be considered more normal elsewhere.

In this specific situation there’s a pretty obvious power imbalance where the public do not wear masks and the authorities would be able to track them down and oppress them later (or just do what they currently do and grab them from the streets at the time). The threat of unmasking is one of the few things the people have to use against the authorities: when a policeman has his mask removed he will typically run away for fear of being identified. (The only other things they have are sheer numbers and the moral superiority of being basically peaceful against a violent government).

A similar argument about law enforcement safety was used by Apple to remove a map app in Hong Kong which showed people where large groups of police (and eg tear gas releases or which small coloured banners announcing illegal assemblies had been raised). The claim was that the app could be used to target individual policemen even though it only showed larger units and mainly helped people to get around the city without getting gassed by the police. Meanwhile the Chinese government were funding a site offering money for doxxing protestors but it wasn’t in the App Store so I guess it was ok.

Mentioning public attitudes as a focus for discussion is basically appeal to authority: just because some other group here or elsewhere thinks something is good or bad, doesn’t make it so. The ideas below that part stand just fine without talking about popularity of norms

I think it's more to highlight the fact that there are differing opinions, and American sensibilities shouldn't necessarily dictate what people in separate countries can do. I see no mention of popularity.

the site you are referring to in your last sentence is not funded by Chinese government, but by a previous governor of Hong Kong (Liang I believe).

Let's be realistic here. Why Liang would fund a site like that. Either one of the reason: CCP ordered that, or he wants to show loyalty and earn credit to CCP. Either case, it was as good as funding by CCP because CCP liked that to happened and didn't ban it.

And Liang is vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. What it means is he is not officially CCP but a very trusted person to be included as decision maker of CCP.

I don't think I like the argument of "it was as good as funding by CCP because CCP liked that to happened". CCP is a party with 90 million members, so if you argue Liang act as a member of CCP, I think I am okay with that.

I don't know should we be 'realistic' or should we be 'accurate' when we make a point. This is a strange time.

It is an interesting point so I can discuss a little bit. Seems people didn't understand the implication of an autocratic government.

When people tried to avoid government funded software, let say a communication app, what is the reason? Because we want to avoid state-owned software violating user privacy and sent all my personal data for their profiling database.

You will trust a private company for that more, why? Because even a private company have to obey court order to disclose personal information to law enforcement, they usually have the right to deny it before the issue escalated to the court.

Now what is the case for autocratic government? Are there any real private company? Using China as an example, any person have to right to inform the government about secret information obtained, so China government have the right to get any information obtained from any Chinese private company without court order. In addition, any large organization including public company have to setup a party branch and have CCP member to oversee the organization. Including Huawei, claiming to be a private company.

So, using any product from any private Chinese company has equivalent disadvantage to a 3-letter agency funded VPN network.

Now back to the issue of if Liang is CCP or not. I won't quote unconfirmed source about Liang is a hidden CCP member. Just use the opened fact, Liang is a formal governor of Hong Kong, which means Liang has taking oath to CCP and CCP trusted this person to rule HK. Liang is currently a decision maker inside CCP's committee, and if Liang has conduct issue from CCP's point of view, then Liang can be secretly prosecuted by party order and put in jail in China.

Another example is Teresa Cheng, Hong Kong Secretary for Justice. For some reason she has been to UK but being taken back to China for investigating her conduct and possibility for applying political asylum by party secret police. She was then released and continued her work in Hong Kong. Detailed is not confirmed, but one thing is clear. Any Hong Kong official can be threatened by party secret police and they must do their job according to CCP plan.

But isn't the former governor pretty much a puppet of the Chinese Communist Party though?

nah they're still a person, the conversion to puppet proved more difficult than expected


Is doxxing a police officer even unacceptable in America? There is very different standard of privacy between an average Joe and an agent of the state performing their duties.

If I've been reading the news correctly, the investigation into the terrorist plot against the Michigan governor was launched because someone was trying to learn the home addresses of police officers. Seems like that is not very well accepted in America.

Was this not simply about getting the names of masked secret police?

Also, the issue with getting the gome adresses of police officers in that case is that the intent was to bomb them, not getting their address per se, as that really is quite easily done and not something the state would notice.

But the whole point here is that this line of reasoning is limited. If Apple were indiscriminately ordering protestor channels to be taken down, we wouldn't accept an excuse that suppressing protestors is "considered more normal" in Belarus, or an argument that the unique context of Belarus means they have no choice but to restrict speech in ways America wouldn't. So if Apple has strong principles against doxxing people, should they really compromise on that just because it'd be good for the protestors if they did?

Apple is completely out of place meddling in Belarus' politics.

Not only that, the stance they are taking is with a dictator who stole the election ...

Apple absolutely shouldn't meddle in Belarus's politics. But if Belarusian users are using their platform to incite violence, as Apple says they are, don't they have a moral responsibility to try and do something about it?

They're using Telegram. Not Apple's platform. If Telegram was a Windows, or even a web app, should Microsoft be threatening to block Windows users from being able to access the app or even website?

I think this is probably the best argument against platforms with locked app stores- civil liberties. The only reason that Belarus can ask Apple to ask (force) Telegram to do this, is because there is no reasonable alternative for most people to get an application onto their phone. If I could easily install other app stores onto my phone, then government requests like this would not be effective.

I'm pretty sure that the most people are able to navigate to web.telegram.org and create a bookmark in their browser of choice. Overall it's an even simpler set of steps than any app store can provide you with, and you don't need to regularly download new updates for it.

And Apple continues to cripple progressive web apps in iOS (example: push notifications), unfortunately making this idea not as useful as on Android.

In some instances, like standing up to a violent, oppressive, and dictatorial regime violence is generally considered an acceptable form of political action.

Even if that's true - and I'm not going to get into that debate here - surely that doesn't mean that every company has to allow their products to become tools of mass violence.

The trick is that Apple is essentially a utility company and replacing it is a significant expense to the user. And it needs to be aware of it's power and act accordingly. Maybe a "device neutrality" law should be in order.

To throw a dumb example your electricity company is not policing you for how you are using your killowats.

Electrical utilities in many areas did routinely report excessive usage to law enforcement for investigation of suspected indoor marijuana farms.

I'd like to see such a law, but I'm not sure this particular situation can be solved that way. The Belarusian government would presumably just pass a non-neutrality law, and then we're in the same place as before where Apple has to decide based on moral and practical considerations.

Violence may be seen as legitimate, but it shouldn’t be seen as effective. In a study of over 300 movements, non violent protests are twice as effective. https://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/file...

Non-violence is only effective where the oppressor is vulnerable to moral pressure. In many cases, the oppressor is not.

(Not stating my personal examples, too contentious, but I'm sure you could find your own).

If you had a study showing that in over 300 carpentry projects hammers were used twice as often as screwdrivers, would that convince you to hammer in a screw?

My point is that violence may not be a good fit for every situation, but that doesn't mean it never is. Gandhi was an effective non-violent protester, against the British in Africa when backed by large numbers. How effective would Gandhi have been protesting against the Nazis?

I don't know anything about Belarus, so I don't know anything about what is or isn't justified, it just seems wrong to me to suggest that violence is categorically less effective. Political violence is a tool and like any other has moments where it should and shouldn't be used.

As far as I can tell, though, unmasking isn't really coded as violent in the sense that the writer suggests.

Huh? Tell that to Ukrainian at first peaceful protestors. Which then turned into mildly violent, then hard violent (from the govt side largely) in the end, including what Ukraine now calls the 100 in Heaven ?

How ineffective was that protest?

Non-violent protests didn't work too well against the Nazis. There are exceptions to every rule.

Would nonviolent protest against Hitler have been twice as effective as the war?

> allow their products to become tools

This is precisely why lack of choice in app stores is so harmful. The phones belong to the people. Without the app store, the manufacturer has no grounds to allow or disallow behavior.

> .. don't they have a moral responsibility to try and do something about it?

Is Apple a law enforcing agency with jurisdiction in that region? If the answer to that is no, then the answer to your (rhetorical) question is equally no.

Even more, Apple might very well be the one legally at fault here, for assuming authoritative powers for which it has absolutely no legal mandate or justification.

So, if anything, it is rather Apple that is likely the one braking the law here, despite all the rhetoric about Apple having some kind of moral duty (absolute hogwash).

It isn't so much about meddling, but more about Apple assuming powers it should never have in the first place (legally speaking).

If there are violence, it is a civil war. Does apple like to meddle their hand in blood? Especially they are standing for the dictatorship, which does not put Apple in a good position even if they are going to get into the issue.

In what particular hellhole have I even landed that we are now using the terms of a Twitter fight to discuss brutal, indiscriminate suppression of protests?

Applying "doxxing" rules to police on the job in public must be the most absurd perversion of the term ever. Why on earth would we grant privacy to public servants entrusted with the force monopoly?

It really is one of the most egregious examples of a cultural echo chamber I've seen on HN.

We're talking about a brutal police force serving a corrupt and delegitimized regime, that is involved in extrajudicial detention, torture, and murder of peaceful protesters. This unit, the OMON, was specifically established to serve as Lukashenko's beatstick against the opposition. Now, the overwhelmingly peaceful protest movement in Belarus has turned towards intimidation (no actual violence has been reported, afaik) against these people specifically, as a way of fighting back.

And then you see people on HN referring to this as "doxxing", as if this was some kind of pithy Twitter fight. I understand that Twitter fights are what people around here can more easily relate to their own life experience than what is currently going on in Belarus, but for Christ's sake, let's try and put things in perspective here.

Well, goldenboy Apple has been caught yet again in its own hypocrisy. These mental gymnastics the fanboys are pulling are worthy of some gold medals.

Sure, but for Apple to change its policies specifically in this case is for Apple to take sides in a political conflict/civil war. I don't think that's a viable outcome either.

Apple doesn't have any good options here; I think their strategy of a toothless demand with no follow through might well be the least worst option for Apple, and for Telegram.

I wasn't really commenting on what Apple should or shouldn't be doing, just on the tone of the conversation in this thread. That said...

Apple have a really good, straightforward option: Don't police user-generated content in iOS apps. Or, at the very least not the ones intended specifically for communication. They aren't listening to people's phone calls or reading their messages in search of ToS-breaching content after all.

It simply shouldn't be any of their business what Telegram's users post on Telegram's platform. Telegram should be able to independently make the decision what it wants to permit therein.

> In what particular hellhole have I even landed that we are now using the terms of a Twitter fight to discuss brutal, indiscriminate suppression of protests?

I don't see any part of the comment doing that. Can you quote it?

I see internet terms being applied to the actions against the police, and those actions aren't brutal at all.

Do you mean all police everywhere?

This seems to match this post, where apple is asking to remove telegram groups used to de-anonymize law enforcement members.

Apple could do something really simple if they wanted to not interfeer with how people organize their fight: allow to install apps outside of the app store. This would force law enforcement to deal with Telegram directly rather than being able to take advantage of apple's own authoritarian way to run its platform.

Now it's a question of what's apple highest priority, people freedom or profit.


They are already requiring entitlements to develop things that use the network extension framework (no sideload for VPNs and proxies bypassing the Chinese firewall).

This is just them being forced (again) to make visible the negative sides of such a centralized platform.

It doesn't change the legal threats of the Belarus government, though. It can still compel Apple to ban self-installs.

How are they going to compel Apple, send a Soviet era fishing boat to the shores of California and scream loudly or turn their own internet off?

It would also allow governments to force people to install tracking apps, as they do in parts of China.

It’s not simple.

Apple could still retain the capability to delete malicious apps from phones (even apps that weren't installed via the App Store).

Presumably Belarus would then make a demand that Apple delete Telegram from people's phones as it is "malicious", but I'd hope that forcing a company to delete things from someone's phone is legally harder than forcing them to hide things on their own servers.

And that capability would be trivial for Belarus to side-step.

Presumably you're imagining some sort of cat-and-mouse game where Belarus release a new version of the app, and then Apple add that app to the blacklist (which iPhones would update daily from Apple's servers, and broadcast via AirDrop).

Rather than blacklisting the app's name or hash, Apple would probably have to blacklist the Developer ID, which it would be hard for Belarus to generate quicker than Apple could blacklist.

Unnecessary because they can already force you to pass all monetary transactions through an app like WeChat and can track you all they want there.

And let's not pretend that Apple has shown any willingness to stand up to the Chinese government.

We all know the answer to that

As this is the inevitable consequence of a platform where a central party controls all software on it, Apple picked profit day 1.

> messages that de-anonymize Belorussian police members,

Police officers must not be able to act anonymously. This is not like "doxxing" anonymous Internet trolls or forum users or whatever.

> Apple says it didn’t require any channels to be removed. But they demanded to immediately remove any information

If they don't like published information, they are welcome to sue the people who published it. That is, if they are in cahoots with the US government's foreign meddling initiatives.

> that discloses someone's data on the Internet without the consent of these persons, as well as content aimed at specific people in accordance with the rules of the App Store.

Can't break the rules of the all-powerful Apple app store, now can we? Tsk tsk tsk.

> This refers to the efforts of the Belorussian opposition to 'unmask' members of the riot police by posting their personal details online.

> So what do you do if you are Apple?

Exploit my users, perform mass surveillance for the US government, breath down the neck of app makers, produce cheaply with poor employment conditions in China, and manipulate the media to fawn over me. That is, if I were Apple.

Luckily I'm not Apple and neither are you, so don't think about what you would do in a place in which you should never get to.


Belarus is on the brink of civil war.

Doxxing regime supporters can easily end up as a "murder todo list" if things heat up.


Maybe the guys should have thought about that before they started attacking peaceful protesters.

This is just one tool, and there will be killing with or without it.

I'm sure a bit of murdering will totally cool things down and peacefully resolve things, with no innocent deaths or casualties. As we all know, vigilantes never make mistakes.

Violence is sometimes the only way forward, though. It should be the way of last resort, but a way nevertheless. That's why we have democracy: so we can remove the people in power by ballot instead of by guillotine. When the former avenue is blocked, violence is all that remains...

Doesn't this go right back to thinking things through before attacking people people?

Right or wrong, when people are abused repeatedly, and or they cease to believe in governance, they will act out and it won't all be nice.

The root cause here is an authoritarian regime failing to justify their authority. People acting out is a symptom.

> People acting out is a symptom.

Yes, but the discussion here is about whether Apple should facilitate or hinder particular kinds of act by people.

That's not a symptom for Apple, that's a dilemma for Apple, and there is no truly neutral option.

Yes, and I spoke to that in the thread. This comment was in reference to violent and or just not so nice political action.

Regarding apple...


> Doxxing regime supporters can easily end up as a "murder todo list" if things heat up.

Do you give an innuendo that this is somehow wrong?

I would advocate that these things are clearly wrong and should be defended against:

- Killing a "regime supporter", meaning someone targeted only because of their political beliefs. It is not right that political beliefs should be punished like that. Ideally they shouldn't be punished at all, they should be tolerated but simply lose an election.

You can't claim to "protest for democracy" while being happy to facilitate murdering people who vote for the other side! That would be mad hypocrisy.

- Killing a police officer whose crime, even if violent, fell significantly short of killing someone themselves. Punishment should fit the crime, not be 10x worse.

You can't claim to "protest for justice" while being happy to facilitate extra-judicial killings that aren't even based in justice.

- Killing an innocent person who is mis-identified, whether by accident or not so much.

See above.

The third point, killing an innocent person seems even more likely due to automated facial recognition software like what's running on Facebook, with its biases and a mask to add more noise too, integrated with deepfake image reconstruction technology to produce convincing "unmasked" images, combined with vigilantes often not being too bothered about accuracy and statistics.

However wrong or right you think it is, surely everyone agrees it's wrong if it ends up getting the wrong people.

But no apparently. I've spoken with people in other situations (at other times) who said, basically, it's ok for "a few innocents" to die if that's what it takes to rid the world of guilty people. And others taking the view that it's ok for "police" to die because police are bad. Both views strike me as boneheaded AF.

It is clear AF from the reports that the Belarus authorities think it's ok for some number of innocents to die and suffer for the sake of policing and intimidation. If I were there I would certainly want the authority to "die", by being thoroughly dismantled asap.

Yes. Murdering people that you disagree politically with is wrong. Even the actual nazis were allowed to surrender and stand trial. Vigilantism is nearly always a bad thing.

Who can put Nazi on trial? The people in Germany? History said it was the ally. And ally has killed many Nazi before they can put Nazi on trial.

If you don't see the power imbalance between the government and the people, then you are very lucky that you had not experienced it.

Not trying to justify murdering, but some kind of deterrence for oppressing peaceful, freedom-loving people is not a bad thing. Of course if it become French Revolution style execution after taking power, that is wrong and it must be stopped. For the moment, that is before that state, so anything can be bearable.

Knowing who breaks the law and applies violence to civil protesters will allow to have a fair trial later.

And visa versa - mainstream platforms don't seem like the place too do this

That's kiiiiiiinda the point


At least being transparent and willing to take a part of responsibility of this action?


> (google translate)

DeepL is a much better translator, at least for the languages I know and according to all comparisons I’ve heard others make, btw (though I don’t know if Yandex Translate is better for Russian).

You're right. I just tried this, into Japanese:

"I cannot believe you would say that to me."

It came up with:


Holy crap, complete with a disparaging なんて, and a nice わ sentence-ender to make it a feminine sounding complaint.

I'm almost sensing like the thing is tying to tell me, "here is how your boring English sounds if it is turned into line from a J-drama."

Was this trained using subtitle databases, I wonder. It's as if a mediocre English subtitle was found, similar to my text, and the corresponding original line had been retrieved.

> So what do you do if you are Apple?

Nothing because Apple has ZERO, no place meddling in this business.

Just hear yourself, "it's against the TOS" versus people on the streets trying to save their own country from a stolen election and a dictator??

OF COURSE the TOS of a tech company is completely irrelevant in this situation.

TOS aren't even laws, they were just created by a profit driven corporation for legal protection. Of course they aren't relevant here.

Just because Apple can say this, and can pressure Telegram, doesn't mean they aren't absolutely in the wrong here.

Whilst I agree with the specifics here, the problem is the general case.

I don't agree that you should be allowed to post people's private, identifying data to a public forum without consent.

This HAS to apply equally, because the idea that there is a universal set of right and wrong is incredibly naive.

A better argument here is how the laws aren't applied equally.

TrueCaller was used by the Chinese to harass and attack human rights activists, and it is essentially an index of everyone's contact list.

Yet, somehow, this doesn't bother Apple. 100% financially motivated.

But my point stands. These telegram channels that exist to distribute public data of people merely accused of being involved with the regime should be shutdown. The term here is witch hunt and I'll take a lot of convincing that innocent people haven't already been falsely accused

This is just beef with Telegram. That’s where the content is hosted.

Apple as a distributor should have NO relevance to this. Apple is like a landlord who legally rented his shop to people who run it as a bar in which some people might meet to discuss protests. Should the police even call the landlord? Should the landlord act on this info?

But in this case Apple have a key to the front door of the bar and no one can enter the bar unless Apple let them. So should Apple lock the door if the police tell them to?

The only reason Apple has (the only) key to the front door is because they refused to give those keys to anyone else (including their property leasees) for "their own protection."

Depends on the rent contract.

If, as you say Apple is like a landlord, Apple can demand specific things in the contract (ie no pets) and the person renting needs to comply.

Not getting into the moral side of the argument of Apple Vs Telegram but want to point out that the landlord example isn't applicable in my opinion.

I don’t think there is anything about impeding political protesters in the Apple EULA. Even if there were something, certain things are typically protected in law; in most western countries, for example, a landlord cannot forbid a shop from serving members of a specific religion or of a specific ethnicity.

I am not saying anything about political protesters, only commenting on the example you used (landlord one) to say it's not applicable in this case.

> Even if there were something, certain things are typically protected in law; in most western countries, for example, a landlord cannot forbid a shop from serving members of a specific religion or of a specific ethnicity

Of course, but the landlord can forbid a shop from having any animals inside the shop for example, except the service animals ofc or to say that only specific type of shop can operate on the ground (prior to signing the contract). This is a more complex issue than "landlord example"

No it really isn’t. As you say, clauses can be added before it is signed. Once it is, and the shop is operating, the landlord cannot just rewrite conditions on a whim. What you are really showing is that Apple is worse than a landlord. QED.

Let's not twist the argument.

Those channels exist to spread private, identifiable data and this breaks the law.

A better version of your argument is Apple is the landlord where people are planning lynchings.

Again, I side with the Belarusians. But pretending this is different to China's doxxing of Uighurs is naive

An even better version of your argument is that Apple is the landlord, Telegram is the one renting the space to run a bar, and a few people are in the back corner planning lynchings. Should it be Apple's responsibility to tell their tenant to kick those people out? Or should the authorities be going straight to the tenant?

The worst part is that this isn't even accurate. What this is really like is Apple sells a bunch of residences, the users are buying their homes, but for some reason all utilities/cable/internet/etc. has to go through the real estate company that the house was purchased from as they dictate what you can and cannot do in that house. Even stranger, it is now somehow the real estate company's place and responsibility to tell a telephone company that the real estate company allows to drop conference calls that mention the private information of some third party, whether the phone calls are coming from the houses purchased from them or not.

>Those channels exist to spread private, identifiable data and this breaks the law.

Out of curiosity, to which law are you referring?

I'm not being snarky here, I'm just not clear about which law(s) are being broken.

According to the Wikipedia page for Telegram[0], Telegram's team is based in Dubai, and the company is registered in the UK and the US.

IANAL, nor am I any sort of expert on US, UK or Dubai law. If you could expand on this, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegram_(software)#History

The problem is somehow we have engineered a global society where Apple is the ultimate law enforcement authority in scenarios like this.

Is Tim Cook really qualified to be the ultimate authority of what speech is allowed or not allowed on a global basis, at least for all the billions of people who use their devices?

Similarly for Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. We cannot allow a very small number of corporate CEOs to make unilateral decisions about how to police speech across the globe.

Either we remedy that, or we need to enforce a form of due process.

Tim Cook is not qualified. No single person is.

That suggests either:

Apple stay out and the discussion moves to Telegram

, or

Apple and others need a formalized process, just like we use for other conflicts.

A case needs to be made, rules of order, etc... and a decision comes from all of that, not what makes more money, or what might cost money.

> I don't agree that you should be allowed to post people's private, identifying data to a public forum without consent.

The problem with that belief is enforcement.

Because illegal numbers [0] are trivially shared, the only viable enforcement to prevent their sharing must have incredibly broad reach.

This ultimately collapses down into "users cannot be allowed to own and operate their own general purpose computer."

And while I'm open to arguments as to why the above is a straw man (I disagree), if you believe the above enforcement scheme is for the greater good then we have very different ideas about individual freedom and the relative value thereof.

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_number

That feels like a false equivalency, because what I'm talking about is the right to be forgotten.

Which is only a fallacy because data is a commodity, not because it's technically impossible.

And yes you can't really be forgotten, copies can always exist but it shouldn't be hosted readily if you don't want it to be.

Unless I'm missing something?

How would you propose to enforce that goal?

It might not be enforceable, while still coming under "shouldn't".

It's not always possible to make people do the right thing. But when it's not possible, it doesn't cease to be the right thing to demand, continuously, hoping to use the power of pressure or persuasion.

I disagree that the only viable enforcement is preemptive blocking. Plenty of offenses in the physical world only have after-the-fact punishments. There aren't spike strips physically preventing you from parking in the red zone.

Preemptive blocking or omnipresent monitoring.

Both of which are contingent on end users not being allowed to possess strong encryption.

> This HAS to apply equally

No, it really doesn't. IMO it has to apply consistently. And it's easy to maintain cohesion / consistency here: If you have different rights, you get different rights.

Police have additional rights, particularly when acting in the course of their jobs - specifically, they have the right of violence. Seems reasonable to give up the "right" of protection-from-griefing.

> Police have additional rights

No, police exercise and are protected by powers of government, these are not the same kind of thing as rights, and do not belong to the individual the way rights do. Moreover, the legitimacy of such powers is exactly dependent on the legitimacy of the government and the extent to which it observes the rights of the people subject to it's powers.

Duck-typing, to my eyes; particularly when looking at doxxing, TOS, and overall morality/ethics. Sure. Not "rights" in a legal sense, but...

Is there a difference between equal and consistent application? I agree, but it seems we're saying the same thing?

When I was a kid the phone book came every year. It had the telephone numbers and addresses of just about everyone.

The specific issue here is that the shared information is targeted at a specific group and seems likely to be used with dangerous intent

That doesn't characterize a general record of numbers/addresses, which more or less ensures some basic anonymity as connecting names to numbers doesn't do much outside some other qualifier, like, these people are the police who are suppressing our cause

I’m pretty sure people were consenting to have their number listed there in their agreement with their Telco.

You actually had to pay for an unlisted number, IIRC

Yeah! I remember that too. Mmmm also caller id enabled lines also. Yum.

Are you referring to the opt in database of details you were expected to update yourself?

There is no general case. The idea of the general case is fundamentally a tool of oppression. Human moral encounters and decisions are personal.

Just hear yourself, "it's against the TOS" versus people on the streets trying to save their own country from a stolen election and a dictator??

This is literally the "just comply with the police and you'll be fine" argument.

Yes, we KNOW everyone clicked through the ToS, but it _completely_ misses the point of the discussion.

>Nothing because Apple has ZERO, no place meddling in this business.

Not meddling means enforcing its TOS in an evenhanded way. Otherwise it's playing favorites.

When one side is an illegitimate government who stole an election, and the other side is millions of people fighting for democracy and freedom, possibly, just possibly, it's time to pick a side. Even if you're a huge amoral profit driven company who's fear of losing 0.1% of your profit precludes you from taking sides... Well, maybe just sit this one out?

It seems very easy from the outside looking in to conclude that an organization should play judge and jury for external conflicts. But having run a small internet forum and occasionally being asked to resolve disputes, even trivial he-said she-said spats can be incredibly difficult to investigate and untangle.

I won't pretend I know what Apple should do here. But I certainly don't agree with the cavalier assertion that unrelated organizations need to confidently pick sides in moral and political battles. Just because you're so certain what the answer should be doesn't mean that you're right. And your lack of visibility and accountability means you risk much less when you quickly come to strong moral conclusions than do large organizations.

So Apple is now in charge of deciding whether elections are legitimate?

It's weird how people in this thread are zigzagging between saying Apple has too much corporate power and Apple needs much more.

Does every country in the world really have to be a democracy? Remember how the Arab Spring turned out?

> Does every country in the world really have to be a democracy?

They don't.

Does every country in the world really need to have racial equality and an even-handed police force? They don't either.

> So Apple is now in charge of deciding whether elections are legitimate?

Don't worry, Apple doesn't have to decide anything here. The US government already did.

I'm not sure why this is being downvoted, but perhaps people don't believe the claim that the US government has formally taken a side on the legitimacy of the elections:


It seems to me that this offers a clever way out for Apple: If Lukashenko isn't the legitimate president of Belarus, then the "police" following his orders to attack protesters are not police at all, but terrorists; and Telegram is helping to bring them to the attention of the legitimate authorities of the president in exile.

How do you know the opposition would have won the election if not for the alleged cheating?

Yeah, I don't see how this is different from Twitter taking down a tweet which doxxes someone.

Would people object if Apple told Telegram they had to remove a channel that was being used by white supremacists to coordinate terrorist attacks?

The answer to that question matters, because if users in this thread succeed in making iPhones less of a walled garden, terrorists will be able to use their iPhones to coordinate terror repeatedly on a large scale, and there won't be anything Apple can do about it. Is that really the world you want to live in? Personally, 2020 has satiated my appetite for craziness, and I'm ready for a little stability.

> […] terrorists will be able to use their iPhones to coordinate terror repeatedly on a large scale, and there won't be anything Apple can do about it.

And? If they're using (say) Signal or even Messages, it's already end-to-end encrypted and there's nothing Apple can do about it.

> Is that really the world you want to live in?

You mean like they're able to use GPG/PGP, Tor browser, and Tails Linux distribution to potentially have secure encrypted communications now? Terrorists, drug dealers, pedophiles, and organized crime have been the boogeymen against strong crypto for decades:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Horsemen_of_the_Infocalyp...

We've been through this before in the 1990s, and the techies (who tend to often lean libertarian) have generally sided with opening things up even if that meant the baddies also got the same capabilities:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crypto_Wars

Coming at it form the opposite end: should the IETF weaken TLS with backdoors so the government agencies can monitor the bad people? Is that really the world you want to live in?

> We've been through this before in the 1990s, and the techies (who tend to often lean libertarian) have generally sided with opening things up even if that meant the baddies also got the same capabilities:

Going in a different direction, you could also look at the state of Windows malware (and adware, eg toolbars) as a potential outcome to the un-walled garden approach: you end up with malware and thus the existence of an anti-malware industry.

Yes, I think this is one advantage of iOS that allows people who use it with confidence and not worry too much about clicking the wrong thing.

It's why I like(d) Linux and Mac OS X (macOS) as well: I can set up my parents with a non-admin default account on their system and not worry too much about them hosing things too greatly (especially with off-machine backups). Windows caught up with that paradigm eventually.

If sideloading comes to iOS I hope that a similar mechanism is introduced: not just "please confirm" dialogue and/or Touch/FaceID pop-up, but a separate 'login'.

That would be best, but then you have the current situation with Epic saying that Android's warnings cause consumers to be frightened when trying to install their third-party app store, so I'm not sure what solution there is that both protects consumers from malware and allows trusted third-parties to have their own apps or app stores. I guess you could have notarization for iOS apps, but then you'd still have that Apple dependence that Epic is against.

But yes, the safeguards that prevent sideloading today make me confident in recommending an iOS device even to someone that downloads malware anytime an ad shows up promising free gift cards.

Moore’s Law of Mad Science: “Every eighteen months, the minimum IQ necessary to destroy the world drops by one point.”

I'm happy that GPG/PGP etc. are a bit difficult to use, because it makes the IQ threshold necessary to coordinate nastiness secretly a bit higher.

Remember how great the blogosphere was prior to the advent of social media? Social media made "blogging" a little more accessible and it became a cesspool. Speed bumps can be a very good thing.

> Moore’s Law of Mad Science: “Every eighteen months, the minimum IQ necessary to destroy the world drops by one point.”

There is research on this in the field of existential risk. I don't remember where exactly but it's formulated as the number of people one person can kill with easily accessible products. In particular biotech is becoming more and more accessible, which great, but has a big impact on that index. There is a great defcon talk by a doctor working at Intel I think.

I think a channel for white supremacists to coordinate terror attacks existing isn't good, per se, but it should still be possible for them by default and the government should have to demonstrate that it can responsibly handle the power to police it before we let it do so. So at the current state of the world, I wouldn't object to Apple doing this, but I'm still in favor of white supremacists being able to do this, because I don't know of any mechanism by which you could stop precisely white supremacist terrorists from coordinating but not also citizens coordinating against state power.

I don't want white supremacists being able to carry out terror attacks, but I want people to be able to coordinate demonstrations and civil resistance, and I'm not aware of a way to do this without also enabling white supremacists, and I think that's a valid tradeoff.

A state is most of the time a tool for a majority to oppress a minority. Laws and police are just their tools, and so are dictators. Whoever is labeled a dictator is just a figurehead supported by majority of elites, who in turn are supported by economically strong coalition, represented by some majority of people who are united.

Precisely, there is no difference between oppressing white supremacist minority and any other minority that wants to overthrow the status quo. It’s not going to be easier or harder depending on how the anti state elements are hiding their communication, because their conflict has to become public to have the effect you desire, which is some systemic change that you agree with ( making you part of this group by the way).

I’m not saying privacy is not important. I’m wondering whether unmitigated privacy is more important to people you and I most probably do not support.

> A state is most of the time a tool for a majority to oppress a minority. Laws and police are just their tools, and so are dictators. Whoever is labeled a dictator is just a figurehead supported by majority of elites, who in turn are supported by economically strong coalition, represented by some majority of people who are united.

I don't agree that that characterisation of a state is true.

I mean, it's sort of true, but it misses out some essential features which are directly relevant to that description, for some states anyway.

One of those is: Some states (maybe the USA?) believe in more than just acting out the wishes of the majority at any given time.

Some of them believe in ideals, which outlive an ephemeral majority. Things like "rule of law" (which doesn't mean clobbering minorities, it means the government is held to account rather than acting like a rogue king), "human rights" (in theory, things like the Magna Carta), "justice" (as defined by a long history of institutions and systems whose learned principles are studied by people that practice in it).

You can certainly argue that sort of thing still comes down to some level of majority oppressing a minority. But I think the character of that ruling is very different in ways that matter, if it demonstrates a decent attempt at those attributes and builds them into stable institutions, than if it doesn't bother or just pays lip service.

Good point. Today's world is a grand experiment to find out what is the right balance between stability and privacy.

Stability comes with slowing down the progress and the top taking ever so more and getting more corrupt. So there always need to be some upwards pressure.

This isn't a government, this is Apple. It seems perfectly reasonable to me for Apple to install some speed bumps against activity such as doxxing or terror which it strongly frowns upon.

Well yeah, white supremacists are violent racist. People protesting against election fraud, aren't. If your idea of stability is the opression of the unprivelidge, then you are part of the problem. This is exactly why corrupt government call protesters anarchists, so middle class people wouldn't mind opression as long as there's stability. While usually the actual destabilization and craziness comes from the people with power who are afraid to lose it.

I can't judge you personally, but history will.

Read my last paragraph. The point is that you can't jailbreak one without jailbreaking the other.

Should it be Apple's business to police terrorists?

Governments have found it convenient to offload policing to communication companies, via putting liability on them unless they do.

I don't think this is the way to go.

I'm a moderate, I didn't say it should be Apple's business, I'm saying maybe it's a good thing if our comms infrastructure affords Apple the flexibility to do this.

If Apple wants to change their TOS and say "publishing personal information is now OK", that is one thing. Maybe publishing personal information should be allowed. The point is that there is an intelligent human being weighing tradeoffs and trying to make a good decision as we muddle our way through the 21st century.

Infrastructural changes, on the other hand, aren't as reversible. Screwups are more likely to be permanent. You're flipping a switch that can't be flipped back. That is the point I was trying to make by mentioning terrorism--there can be unintended consequences which you don't necessarily anticipate, so retaining flexibility is good.

>I'm saying maybe it's a good thing if our comms infrastructure affords Apple the flexibility to do this.

I'm having trouble understanding your point. Apple makes devices. They sell (not rent or lease) those devices.

As such, just as if I were to buy a gun or a knife or a dozen chicken wings, what I do with such a device isn't anyone else's business. It's mine.

If I use that gun or knife to injure or kill someone, is the gun or knife manufacturer involved? No. Because I, not the manufacturer, am responsible for my actions. They have nothing to do with it.

If I insert those chicken wings into orifices other than my mouth, is that any business of the restaurant who sold them to me? No. For the same reasons.

As such, Apple is no more part of the "comms infrastructure" (and especially in this case, as it isn't Apple software -- like iMessage -- being used) than the knife manufacturer is part of my circus knife throwing act.

This issue is broader than the awful stuff going on in Belarus.

Who owns the stuff you purchase? If the manufacturer (and/or other private entities) can unilaterally decide what you can or cannot do with your own property, then you don't really own it.

And there will always be some folks who object to the use of, well, just about anything.

Should the folks at PETA[0] be able to block communications between a group of friends going hunting for deer or quail?

In their understanding, that's exactly the same as a group plotting to kill humans.

The situation in Belarus is more complicated, as it pits the the government against the governed. Even so, I say it's not the place of a manufacturer to tell someone what they may or may not do with a product once it has been sold.

What's more, Telegram needs to decide what happens on their infrastructure and Apple has no business being involved at all.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_for_the_Ethical_Treatme...

Yes, it is quite different. Twitter is one of many platforms. If it begins to censor content it’s relatively straightforward to move to telegram or signal of matrix. The App Store on the other hand is a platform of platforms so its decisions affect all platforms on it. if you’re on an iPhone, there’s nowhere else to go. And Belarus has a gdp per capita of 6300. I imagine for most citizens getting a new phone is not trivial.

This is a false equivalency. One is a group objecting to rigged elections and another is a group that advocates for violence against others based on ethnicity.

Those are very different things, and it is necessary to differentiate between the two.

I didn't claim they were equivalent.

Really? Your answer to Apple restricting information posted by people protesting elections is to ask how people would feel about restricting information from white supremacist terrorists. At the very least, this is a whataboutism argument, trying to shift the discussion away.

>Yeah, I don't see how this is different from Twitter taking down a tweet which doxxes someone.

I dont think that is an accurate analogy. It would more accurate to describe AWS / GCP asking Twitter to take down a tweet. Because Apple in your example Apple should be replaced with Telegram.

> Yeah, I don't see how this is different from Twitter taking down a tweet which doxxes someone.

No, this is Microsoft telling Twitter to take down that tweet, because they have a Windows app. Or threatening to block access to the app or twitter.com.

This keeps being posted and keeps disappearing, so I'm going to not link to it, but when you search around, a post on telegram by Pavel Durov explains that apple has in fact made 2 demands: Take down the private information __and__ in addition to that, do so silently: Do not replace it with a notice explaining which part of apple's guidelines were breached, because that would be 'irrelevant' info.

Apparently, whilst the quandary is real, apple is either living on a different planet than I am, or doesn't care, and decided to pepper in something that the vast majority (I would assume) find distasteful 1984 stuff.

Here's Durov's response:


Apple released a statement saying they didn't want us to take down the 3 channels run by the Belarusian protestors, but just specific posts "disclosing personal information."

This sly wording ignores the fact that channels like @karatelibelarusi and @belarusassholes consist entirely of personal information of violent oppressors and those who helped rig the elections – because that is why those channels exist.

By hiding their demands with vague language, Apple is trying to avoid the responsibility of enforcing their own rules. It is understandable: according to this poll, over 94% of Belarusian users think the channels that made Apple worry should be left alone.

Previously, when removing posts at Apple’s request, Telegram replaced those posts with a notice that cited the exact rule limiting such content for iOS users. However, Apple reached out to us a while ago and said our app is not allowed to show users such notices because they were “irrelevant”.

Similarly, when Facebook wanted to inform its users that 30% of the fees users were paying for online events went to Apple, Apple didn’t let Facebook do it saying this information was (once more) “irrelevant”.

I strongly disagree with Apple’s definition of “irrelevant”. I think the reason certain content was censored or why the price is 30% higher is the opposite of irrelevant.

Apple has the right to be greedy and formalistic (or maybe not – that’s something for the courts and regulators to decide). But it’s time Apple learned to assume responsibility for their policy instead of trying to hide it from users – they deserve to know.



I take no issue with wanting to remove content that doxxes people, even if those people are doing bad things. I do, however, take issue with Apple pushing this idea that they can decide what information you can and cannot give users. Barring people from saying "Hey, we didn't delete this because we wanted to, Apple asked us to" is a bit suspect as it leads to people associating the act with the app by default. It takes away agency from companies while giving Apple free reign to rule without being blamed for any mistakes.

Even more, Apple has assigned itself powers that in most (sane) countries are a strict monopoly of governments (and preferably only after going through a legal system/process and strictly regulated).

Especially Apple's attempt/request/demand to remove things silently goes way beyond what any company (or citizen) should ever be allowed to do to speech of others. Whether this doxxing is justified or not, that's up to courts and certainly not Apple. Censorship (while debatable if it ever should be allowed in some cases or never) should always be a monopoly of a state (which should be legally accountable) and never commercial entities.

I'm honestly a bit surprised, that so far I hear few governments protest, about how a commercial company basically usurped powers that are supposed to be limited to governments only. Such powers belong only there not just by habit or by convention, but also because this an important aspect of the legal order in any state of law. That is, at least for any country that has signed and ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As appalling as Apple's behavior might be (and I certainly hope they will pay dearly for it), it's not particularly surprising (anymore). But the silence of governments on this behavior, that should worry more people a lot more.

By telling Apple they can’t control others’ speech on their platform, you are in effect controlling Apple’s speech, forcing them to host or be associated with material they don’t want.

> By telling Apple they can’t control others’ speech on their platform, you are in effect controlling Apple’s speech

Since when is control, or censorship, of what someone else says speech in it's own right? If Apple wanted a disclaimer next to a message, or something along those lines, you might still remotely have somewhat of a point.

Following your contrived line of "reasoning", any TV producer should have a right to decide what viewers can (and can not) watch on their hardware.

Last time I checked, companies that make product for a consumer market explicitly do NOT have a right to decide what consumers can do with it.

Somehow, software producers already got way more leeway with that than the probably ever should have in the first place (in accordance with the law). But to argue that they should because it's about the free speech of companies, is absolutely bunkers.

I'm aware that the USA made the rather mind boggling decision that companies are people to them (though arguably only so politics could be even more corrupted with corporate money), giving rise to the lunacy of a company having something as free speech. But even accepting that as a (dismal) fact of reality (in the USA), controlling the speech of others just isn't speech itself. More importantly, such control is explicitly forbidden by law (even as per the UDHR).

it's pretty convenient if you can just force another company to take the PR hit for your unpopular decision, because you own the microphone

> This keeps being posted and keeps disappearing

Fwiw, t.me is banned on HN because the vast majority of submissions don't show anything unless you install their app. It seems some posts are also display actual content, but they're rare, and it would require writing some special-case code to whitelist them.

Telegram is small enough for Apple to bully. Imagine if Apple tried to force Twitter to censor every "cancel crusade" or be removed from the App Store.

Telegram has more monthly active users than Twitter (400 million vs 360 million, according to Statista)

Even going by metrics like cultural significance, there are large regional differences. It's a little unfair to call them smaller, even if they don't quite have the same level of political and social clout in the US.

User numbers don't matter if you're not making money off them. Telegram is privately funded by Pavel Durov. Twitter's yearly revenue is equal to Durov's entire net work. Twitter's market cap is 250 times higher than Telegram's.

> Twitter's yearly revenue is equal to Durov's entire net work. Twitter's market cap is 250 times higher than Telegram's.

Contrary to your goal you actually made Durov sound much more impressive.

Durov's an extremely impressive individual. It doesn't change the fact that kicking Twitter off the app store could put a dent in Apple's iPhone sales and would almost certainly generate a lot of negative Western press. Telegram getting the boot wouldn't.

It would destroy sales in large parts of the world where it's the default messaging app, similar to how kicking off WhatsApp would in other parts of the world.

Exactly? Why does Apple get to moderate Telegram's users?

If you let a communication app onto your platform, you are letting people use that to communicate. It is not up to apple to moderate telegram. It is up to telegram.

If apple wanted to, they could argue "Telegram is so badly moderated we want them off our platform". But that is very different from saying "If you do not take these specific moderation actions, we will kick you off our platform". Unless telegram was already on very thin ice with Apple, this is a massive over-reach by Apple.

Through what right or means can Apple demand this, though? Telegram is a platform for user-generated content and it seems odd for Apple to single-out those 3 channels/groups specifically - what about the hundreds of thousands of other objectionable groups on Telegram?

And why Telegram in particular? Why doesn't Apple give the same ultimatum to Facebook to pressure them to block access to militant ethnonationalist groups - or for a more-fair comparison: Awful groups on WhatsApp.

If there's one thing worse than burdensome walled-garden rules, it's inconsistent enforcement of them.

With this kind of policy Apple's hypocrisy really shines bright. An app like Reddit is allowed, meanwhile Telegram not only has to not show porn channels to users, but now has to ban content from the whole platform or be removed from the App Store. On Reddit, there by far more porn accessible to users, and probably more "incitement of violence" too. There's no way to support Apple here. Just another example of the tyranny of the App Store.

Yet at the same time it was apple and app store policies that apparently drove the decision to ban porn from Tumblr. If Reddit ever goes on a similar decline, I could see Reddit being suddenly held to those guidelines too.

> And why Telegram in particular?

It ended up as the main way Belarussian protesters organize themselves. TG is a huge target for their government and I would not be surprised if Apple is being pressured by them.

Apple painted this target on their own back when they decided they’d be the sole distributor of software for the platform.

It’s not like Indian/U.S. government didn’t ask Google to take down TikTok from the Play Store.

As long as they operate an app store, they will be a target. Just might not be the only target.

You can sideload tiktok on your android if you're so inclined.

So what? If that was a practical means of installing it for most people, the governments would go after whoever hosts the APK.

That is a way more difficult target to hit. People can follow a 3 step instruction easily enough.

That's kinda the point that having a single controlling entity makes the ecosystem vulnerable to this kind of pressure.

People don’t follow 3 step instructions easily enough. That’s exactly why Apple is so successful.

I wish it weren’t so.

Motivated users (which protesters definitely count as) will absolutely manage to successfully sideload an Android app. Especially seeing as how they are all routinely physically meeting up with many other protesters, so all it takes is running into someone who helps them get set up. Back in my Ingress days I had a similar situation where we were doing a big operation using a command and control coordination sideloaded app. Most of the people were able to figure it out ahead of time, but the last few had others help them download, install, and configure it when we met up for the op. Protests would be exactly the same thing.

> the governments would go after whoever hosts the APK.

Have you thought about what that would mean in practice? Given that the APK could be hosted on multiple (TLS-enabled) foreign sites, a government would need a team of people to be constantly monitoring the web for sites containing the APK, who would then send orders to domestic ISPs demanding that they prevent their customers from accessing those foreign sites.

I believe it is also possible to share apps via Bluetooth.

>Have you thought about what that would mean in practice? Given that the APK could be hosted on multiple (TLS-enabled) foreign sites, a government would need a team of people to be constantly monitoring the web for sites containing the APK, who would then send orders to domestic ISPs demanding that they prevent their customers from accessing those foreign sites.

You mean like the MAFIAA[0] has been doing for decades?

[0] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/MAFIAA

My understanding is that the legal and technical process for getting ISPs to block access to a foreign website is one that takes weeks or months. Also, even with this power, I'm not sure how effective the MAFIAA have been at stopping people from downloading copyrighted media:


I believe you're absolutely correct.

My point was that any similar attempt would likely be just as unsuccessful.

That’s an extremely good point.

Belarus is the last European dictatorship considered a pariah state with no international influence and propped up economically by Russia, so I don't think it has much leverage over Apple. The situation would be very different if it was, for example, China.

> what about the hundreds of thousands of other objectionable groups on Telegram

Exactly! If they want to start policing all content generated through apps that can be installed on iOS... they'll start getting millions of takedown requests from governments around the world.

Very weird decision strategically, and ofc very questionable morally.

I would be surprised if this were not a demand from the Belarus government, threatening sanctions on Apple, possibly with Russian support. The Belarus government can just block the App store entirely and may, if Apple does not comply.

> The Belarus government can just block the App store entirely and may, if Apple does not comply.

So what???

Protestors are being imprisoned and tortured, they actually hanged protest organizers from trees, as a scare tactic, does Apple really want to go on public record as an enabler of this?

It is ethically abhorrent, disgusting and beyond terrifying.

If the team responsible for this at Apple is reading this thread, you should know you have blood on your hands.

100% agreed.

> does Apple really want to go on public record as an enabler of this?

They just did. They are. And I shall treat them as such.

Do I want the GAFA to have foreign policies? I am not sure about that. I want social networks and IT infrastructure to be just that: infrastructures, belonging to the various countries they operate in.

If Apple is going to enforce moral views on countries and users, I want the board that chooses these views to be elected. Because as soon as you make such a legitimate demand, a thousand others will follow in terms of acceptance or not of hate speech, dissemination of propaganda, harassment, and the various definitions of terrorism.

A way to prevent Apple from conducting immoral actions in some countries would be to accepte universal jurisdiction in some places, so that crimes in country A by entity X can be judged in country B. Unfortunately this has been a thing constantly opposed by USA.

Are you planning to dox Apple employees?

That seems like the logical conclusion if you think they have blood on their hands.

It seems like a little much to call Apple an ‘enabler’ for being against doxing.

Just because protesters use a tactic doesn’t mean everyone needs to support it, especially if it is a tacit call to violence.

Is the argument you're making "if you see someone doing something bad, you should not only call it out as such, but also be willing to do something bad to stop it"? That doesn't make sense to me unless there's really no other option to prevent a much greater evil. I think we're still at the point in this story where normal consumer and media pressure can be effective.

Normal consumer pressure can get out of the way of a nations internal affairs and nothing much else. The number one remedy people are asking of Apple is to back off and be more laissez faire.

I, too, can cheer on HK, whatever that means...

Back off from what? Nobody has said they have even threatened anything.

You edited this a lot since my previous comment, but it still doesn’t seem obvious this it’s relevant.

Is "this" my parent comment ("Is the argument you're making...")? I edited that immediately after you added more text to your parent comment ("Are you planning to dox Apple employees?"), but not after your other comment ("I don’t know why you would think it’s my argument.").

Anyway, if I understand correctly your position is that if people here believe that Apple's action is wrong, then they must believe that protestors doxxing Belarusian law enforcement is justified. Therefore people here should also believe that doxxing Apple employees is justified.

My response is that any question of "relative badness" changes drastically in the immediate presence of real physical violence. If Belarusian law enforcement is out on the streets cracking demonstrators' skulls, it's more plausible that doxxing is a lesser evil (though of course, I have no idea how credible this doxxing is) -- direct physical violence just makes every response more acceptable.

Apple's response may have the downstream effect of increasing physical violence, but only through a more diffuse chain of events, so it's possible to think that Apple's action is bad but, unlike direct physical violence, not bad enough to warrant doxxing its employees (which, anyway, doesn't seem anywhere near as effective as doxxing Belarusian law enforcement -- how many Apple employees have the power to affect this policy?).

Helpful explanation. I agree there can be a scale of culpability.

Two points I question:

You assume that doxxing Belarusian law enforcement is effective.

You also imply that Belarusian law enforcement have the power to affect Belarusian policy.

These seem like very much unjustified assertions.

You also seem to ignore the possibility that doxing Apple employees could affect Apple’s policy which is what people want when they criticize Apple.

I am not arguing for doxxing. I’m against it.

However if one believes it would be effective at changing Belarusian policy, it raises the question as to why it would not be effective in changing Apple’s policy?

There is also the point made by the parent that Apple’s people have “blood on their hands”, and are “enablers of violence”.

From your statement about the relative badness, I presume you don’t agree with the parent comment about this.

So it doesn’t seem like your view is representative of the one I was replying to.

I stand by my original comment.

If someone thinks Apple’s employees have “blood on their hands”, then it is logical to assume that by the same reasoning they support doxxing of police, they would support doxxing of Apple employees because they equate what Apple employees are doing with violence. That’s what it means to say that someone has blood on their hands.

The fact that you don’t actually think that what Apple is doing is so bad, changes nothing about the original comment. I was replying to a comment that was far less moderate than the opinion you have just expressed.

You just don’t share the views of the person I was replying to.

I don’t know why you would think it’s my argument.

It seems a lot closer to the argument DoingIsLearning is making about why “Apple employees” have blood on their hands.

You said the "logical conclusion" is "doxxing" them. You haven't explained why, and it's not at all obvious why you would say that. So yes people think that's your argument. If you are arguing something different, you need to explain better.

I actually did explain:

Here’s a real quote from my comment, rather than a few words out of context in quote marks:

“That seems like the logical conclusion if you think they have blood on their hands.”

It’s obvious that I am not saying they should be doxed.

But sure - if people are just reacting to a few words without reading the whole comment or what is a reply to, then they won’t understand.

No, that doesn't explain. Why does blood on their hands make doxxing mandatory for everyone that believes that? Nobody has said anything like that except you.

I never said doxing was mandatory for everyone that believes that. Misquoting me and exaggerating what I said isn’t going to lead to a better understanding.

However if you believe that doxing of individual law enforcement officers is justified because of their support for the regime, and you accuse Apple’s team of having blood on their hands for ‘enabling’ the regime, it would be logical to conclude that you support doxing Apple’s employees.

> it would be logical to conclude that you support doxing Apple’s employees.

But your comment didn't just say such a person would conclude it's justified. You said the logical conclusion would be them participating in the doxxing. Those are very different things. The list of actions that I think are justified but don't participate in is enormous.

(And by "mandatory for everyone that believes that" I meant that logic would mandate it, which is the same as it being the logical conclusion.)

But even with your new version, just talking about it being justified, well that's not necessarily the logical conclusion. One reason is that their participation is at a different level, so the justification might not extend to them.

And if you go by the motive in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24738218 then identifying the police is being done for a very direct purpose to level the playing field on the ground. Someone might reasonably feel that this reason doesn't apply to Apple employees, even while saying that Apple employees have blood on their hands.

You have introduced some abstraction and hypotheticals about how people might reason about this that the original commenter was not expressing. I agree these are interesting points.

It is true that some person might have the nuanced sentiments and tactical analysis you hypothesize, but the actual person who I was responding to didn’t seem to be expressing such a complex view in their comment, and my original reply still stands as a reasonable challenge to the implications were of what they wrote, given the sentiment with which they expressed it.

Apple is restraining their hands so they can't fight back while they are being punched in the gut. This is not a peaceful act.

> just block the App store

I don't think so. IT is 5% of Belarusian GDP.

It was, before the shitshow

Well, one technical reason is that WhatsApp groups — unlike Telegram groups — use encryption. So Facebook doesn't know what goes on inside them.

That's just a theater. If anybody can join a group, there must be a way to distribute the keys to those who joined. Anybody can get a key then, including Whatsapp/Facebook.

Right, if the invite link is publicly available anyone can join.

But a Facebook employee would have to join the group and they wouldn't have access to older messages. It's not like with Telegram, where all the content, including old messages, is stored in plain text on the server.

The app makes sure only the people it thinks are in the channel get the keys. If you turn on the security notifications you can see how it works, you get a message when someone gets a new phone, that indicates they got a new key.

You can even check if it matches up if you meet in person or if you communicated using another medium.

Those are not some private groups of 5 guys. Those group are available to millions of users.

You can still tell but of course there shouldn’t be an expectation of privacy with that many users.

These new people cannot access older messages. e2ee

There's also the fact that any of those messages can be reported for doxxing or screenshotted to show proof that they're doxxing. Also, Telegram group chats are encrypted, just not E2E, so they've also likely been reported by people who visited them. They are public, after all. (Which seems like a puzzling approach when you're doing something illicit but that's a whole other matter.)

They can see the title and possibly the picture, though. (People who know this use inconspicuous names and pictures)

Can you point me to similar Facebook/Whatsapp groups ?

Because they are usually pretty aggressive about acting on inciteful content.

How about we consider any website accessible through Safari? Is Apple going to start blocking users from viewing those?

I'll not be surprised. Apple always wants total control on their platforms. Obviously sometimes its plays against them.

> Obviously sometimes its plays against them.

Also known as accountability for their own actions.

The opening steps of that are already in place. Apple is already blocking content in safari by default. It’s currently doing so in the name of privacy, and chances are that what it’s currently doing is ultimately user positive.

The mechanism is already in place and ready to be expanded to include anything more as necessary.

No, Facebook is not aggressive in moderating anything except their PR. It's full of bots, full of disinformation, and full of hate-filled groups. You have to be smart enough not to use it to be naive enough to believe they police any aspect of it adequately.

I doubt it. Maybe they crack down on an app or two when they feel like it but Apple aren't moving the needle on incitement.

Plus they make and sell communication apps subject to carrying the exact same sentiments. Content policing a chat app is asinine.

It's not. They don't allow NSFW apps on iOS even if it's user generated. They have to make it explicitly opt in with significant restrictions.

Apple can do whatever they want on their platform. I wouldn't want to be involved in something illegal such as above when using an app on iOS accidentally.

> Apple can do whatever they want on their platform.

Actually no they can’t much of the world has laws to prevent such abuses of power.

> They don't allow NSFW apps on iOS even if it's user generated.

Nit: apps may show user-generated adult content (with some restrictions), as long as such content is not the main purpose of the app. So a “porn browser” would not be allowed, but an “internet browser” is.

Some channels on Telegram show up as not accessible to Apple users because they "distribute pornography" even in cases when that was not the main purpose of the channel. There were cases when some users reposted porn gifs to group chats, admins did not delete them, then the whole chat got banned after user reported the chat. Notice: it's not even the _app's_ main purpose, they police the content down to specific channels, so the apps may _not_ show NSFW content it seems. I wonder when they'll start blocking specific websites in Safari.

Telegram is Apple's own platform? Are you saying Apple is involved in something illegal by allowing Telegram to distribute software through the App Store, since people use it to dox Putin-aligned police in Belarus?

There is already a precedent for apple to not allow apps that doesn't align with its content policies even if user generated. Anything NSFW is not allowed by default and without explicit warnings. Porn is not allowed. Drug stores are not allowed. Gab is not allowed. Imageboards aren't. Why would this be different?

Apple owns the app store and the iOS platform. They have a duty to protect their customers from clicking on unsightly and wrongful content. Customers expect that from apple. I wouldn't want any kid to end up accessing this channel on telegram.

> They have a duty to protect their customers from clicking on unsightly and wrongful content

They don't.

> Customers expect that from apple

They shouldn't

> I wouldn't want any kid to end up accessing this channel on telegram.

It's parent's duty to protect their kid however they see fit, not Apple's.

> clicking on content

If you believe democracy to be unsightly and wrongful, then your believes are reactionary, and must be subject to rectification.

In which world is democracy doxing and planning violence against people?

Against people who, by all intents have literally sabotaged an election and installed themselves as authoritarian rulers?

Somehow in your definition democracy is something only allowed to happen organically, if forcefully torn from you by corruption and guns, "oh well".

In this one

This argument is completely undermined by Safari.

The worst ones are all private, so they can't be pointed to. But we do find out about their existence after they're broken up (by law enforcement action, not Facebook). E.g. the domestic terrorists that were planning to overthrow the Michigan State government were coordinating via private Facebook group. So there's one example for you.

>Through what right or means can Apple demand this, though?

I imagine that it's through the terms of the contract signed by Telegram to be allowed into the App Store.

That Apple is flexing its market share (and walled garden) to enforce those terms on Telegram isn't even unusual.

But that doesn't make it ethical or right.

>Through what right or means can Apple demand this, though?

The App Store is theirs and they will kick you out if they don't like you. Isn't that good enough?

App store may be theirs, but this is like after you install some third party e-mail client on your phone, Apple trying to force their way into telling you what e-mails you can receive, or who you can communicate with. (by proxy) Surely that's not reasonable. What does ownership of the phone mean then?

They could. They have the power to. Reasonable doesn't enter into it. That's why some of us object to their control over access to software for all their customers. I personally will not buy Apple products for this reason.

Everyone else's iphone isn't theirs though. Apple's abuse of their users is directly contributing to the consolidation of power in the world, which will likely lead to violence against and abuse of poor people.

That's just why they can. But no it's not good enough. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean it's right.

More than enough. It should be noted in bold writing on the TOS, though.

Doesn't change the fact that their behaviour itself is more than shady...

Apple operates in Belarus and must respond to the pressures of the government. Americans would find it intrusive if Apple was strong enough to tell the US govt to back off.

> Americans would find it intrusive if Apple was strong enough to tell the US govt to back off.

Are you sure? I remember people backing Apple when they were protecting users phones from FBI hacking.

I don't think Apple has the strength to tell the US government to back off, and I don't think Americans think so either. When Apple goes through the American legal system, that's the power of the American judiciary.

But Belarus?

That was the marketing, not reality.

The reality was their phone did get "hacked" and Apple participated in PRISM.

Americans have the right to tell the government to back off when the government breaks the law. We shouldn't hold everyone to the same low standard as Belarus.

Apple has tried in the past, of course. I believe the policy they say they take is “we respect the law in the country we operate in”. It’s not clear if this was something that the law mandated; if it wasn’t to be morally consistent they should have pushed back like they have in the US.

To be fair, Telegram is a total nightmare. It's like bitcoin or Tor and dark web, it may facilitate anonymous free speech, but in doing so, it facilitates a helluva lot of crime.

There has to be limits on freedom, you can't just be allowed to post bomb making plans on the internet or yelling fire in a crowded theatre

You may not know this but the fire in a crowded theater case was about criminalizing opposition to the draft during WWI. Criminalizing speech always ends with the powers that be using it to stop people saying things inconvenient to them. One year it’s Obama prosecuting whistleblowers, the next it’s Trump. Any power the government has will be used and “abused” almost immediately.


> Holmes, writing for a unanimous Court, ruled that it was a violation of the Espionage Act of 1917 (amended by the Sedition Act of 1918), to distribute flyers opposing the draft during World War I. Holmes argued this abridgment of free speech was permissible because it presented a "clear and present danger" to the government's recruitment efforts for the war. Holmes wrote:

>> The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. [...] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

> One year it’s Obama prosecuting whistleblowers, the next it’s Trump

I agree with you, but I hope you're not making a false-equivalence between Trump and Obama, or that the Obama administration's actions against free-speech had the same motivations - and lack of conscience - as the Trump administration's.

It would be much fairer to compare Bush Jr to Trump - it was under Bush Jr we got "free speech zones", for example.

I don’t care about their motivations. I care about what they do. Trump is a vulgarian, a clown, a walking affront to civility while Obama was born and raised to the haute bourgeoisie but one fanned the flames of war in Libya and Syria and the other has burned no nations. Obama dedicated his adult life to the quest for power and he’s a liberal at heart. Trump has no principles, just a lust for adulation. They were still both the executive. Seek power, accrue power, use power. Stamp on any inconvenient speech.

> Obama's war on whistleblowers leaves administration insiders unscathed

> Since Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009, his government has waged a war against whistleblowers and official leakers. On his watch, there have been eight prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act – more than double those under all previous presidents combined.

> And yet other apparent leaks have gone entirely unpunished or have been treated, as in the case of General David Petraeus, as misdemeanors. As Abbe Lowell, lawyer for one of the Espionage Act eight, Stephen Kim, has argued in a letter to the Department of Justice, low-level officials who lack the political connections to fight back have had the book thrown at them, while high-level figures have been allowed to leak with “virtual impunity”.


> you can't just be allowed to post bomb making plans on the internet or yelling fire in a crowded theatre

one is very different from the other. I agree yelling fire in a crowded place can't be allowed - causes people to panic, because it's not possible to 'unhear' a sound.

But posting bomb-making information (or really, any information) should be allowed. This information is voluntarily consumed, so it has no danger of causing harm without a person acting on said information (in which case, it's not the information but the person acting on it that is the problem). This applies to _any_ information, not just bomb making information.

>This applies to _any_ information, not just bomb making information.

Like the information the crowded theater is on fire?

I mean I agree, information should be free, but that's a bad way to phrase the argument.

>Like the information the crowded theater is on fire?

Check Holme's quote. It's not "yelling fire in a crowded theatre." It's "Falsely yelling fire..."

Do you see the difference?

In fact, The Schenk[0] case was partially overturned by Brandenberg[1], where that example was superseded by "incitement to imminent lawless action," as it's more specific.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenck_v._United_States

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_v._Ohio

The point is that it should be up to the government to decide what limits should be put on speech in Telegram, not Apple.

> To be fair, Telegram is a total nightmare. It's like bitcoin or Tor and dark web, it may facilitate anonymous free speech, but in doing so, it facilitates a helluva lot of crime.

So what? Freedom of speech isn't meant to be just free speech as long as it's approved by some government.

>There has to be limits on freedom, you can't just be allowed to post bomb making plans on the internet or yelling fire in a crowded theatre

One of those things is not like the other.

From an ethical standpoint, the only limits on freedom should be those that infringe on the rights of others.

As in, "Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins."

Well, perhaps, but how is that relevant? This story is about specifically targeting election fraud protesters, not drug dealers, etc.

I'm from Belarus. Honestly, I'm surprised Apple gives a shit. Now I'm worried that Apple can cooperate with local police in case they make inquiry. Am I safe?

Here is the link to one group that uses ML to de-anonymize people: https://youtu.be/FAJIrnphTFg

Looking at the video, on the one hand, I can see why that could be a sort of public service against the most egregious of brutal policing.

On the other hand... that AI/ML looks like it has immense potential for wrongful identification.

"AI hallucinating" the wrong person's face into the scene using totally convincing feature interpolation.

In a high stakes scene where people feel the need to fight back, it's not hard to imagine such false positives ruining an innocent person's life.

Edit: If the other comment about people being killed as a result of identification videos is true, "ruining" only scratches the surface. Getting people killed due to an algorithm false positive would be a terrible thing to facilitate. We are talking about an algorithm where the "recognise face" part is known to make errors as well as subject to many kinds of bias (and that's even without a mask); and the "project the face into the video part" is optimised for making the most convincing deep fakes. Especially in the most high stakes scenes, somebody will inevitably convince themselves or others that the interpolated face is really the person who was there behind that mask. Heck, even experts misjudge pattern-matching evidence: https://www.cebm.ox.ac.uk/news/views/the-prosecutors-fallacy "The Prosecutor’s Fallacy is most often associated with miscarriages of justice."

Noone was killed. They are safe. We have peaceful protests. Noone even using something like a bat and we don't have weapons in the arms of regular people

Fair enough. Based on news I completely agree with you. I found no evidence online of any Belarus police being killed or even harmed. (I'd edit my GP message to clarify that if I could but the time limit has passed.)

In referring to identified people being killed I contemplated a worst case scenario, following up on comment https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24737255 "in Hong Kong similar channels were used to kill police" and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24737546 "possibly leading to innocent people being lynched or killed by the mob because almost no one will verify whether that someone was really to blame".

However, a bit of Googling later and I haven't found any confirmation that any police in Hong Kong were killed either. Perhaps the HN commenter was a bit overzealous to say so. Only death threats to them... and their children (which is pretty bad in its way).

Meanwhile, the same Googling revealed a lot about Belarus: Shooting protestors with live ammo, horrendous abuse, medical abuse, torture, and some death; it sounds pretty bad there. I can see why doxxing them is compelling and perhaps moral.


Some police resigning in disgust too. That's good to hear.

The possibility of innocents getting harmed due to false identification remains though. Those AI face recognition and deep fake reconstruction techniques really are prone to errors that look convincing. I hope the committed doxxers have high standards of review and understanding, and are able to correct mistakes. I've read enough stories about innocents being attacked and sometimes killed in the past due to an angry vigilante group's lack of care that I think it's a genuine concern if AI-assisted doxxing ever escalates to violence.

I found this article about Hong Kong interesting for how doxxing and counter-doxxing are evolving: https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Hong-Kong-protesters-are-nam...

> "There is power in being able to name those who have wronged you. Doxxing may not be good practice -- the pro-democracy camp has the moral high ground right now -- but few condemn it while the police operate with impunity. Right now, the police doxxing channel on Telegram has more than 242,000 subscribers. As a comparison, the movement's fact-check channel has 60,000."

> "Unsurprisingly, the police have found ways to hide their identities. Since late June, their helmets have had one-way-mirror privacy film adhered to what were see-through visors. Almost none wear their warrant cards or produce them when requested, even under circumstances where force regulations compel them to."

>In referring to identified people being killed I contemplated a worst case scenario, following up on comment https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24737255 "in Hong Kong similar channels were used to kill police"

That is some biggest BS right there. Luckily that comment was flagged.

>Only death threats to them...


>and their children (which is pretty bad in its way)

There were never any, alleged or not death threat to their Children. But there were definately peer pressure and bullying. ( Which is pretty bad as it causes mental health issues )

You've got to just hope that Apple realizes how bad this would blow up in their face if they worked with police in Belarus to identify democratic protestors, especially given their emphasis on "privacy" in their marketing.

How would it blow up in their face when Apple's customers don't care?

Apple has handed over the entire operation of iCloud in China to a regime owned company, including all user data and keys (they did warn users that they were going to do that though).

At the same time they do not permit side-loading, thereby handing complete control over what users are allowed to install on their devices to authoritarian regimes.

This is not simply "complying with local laws" as they like to present it.

This is the kind of hyprocisy that chips away at a brand's hard earned reputation. You may notice it's currently the top post on Hacker News. It was also the top post on /r/Apple/ earlier today, surely a haven of some of Apple's biggest fans and customers.

100% makes me what to ditch iPhones again.

> Apple has handed over the entire operation of iCloud in China to a regime owned company, including all user data and keys (they did warn users that they were going to do that though).

Woah. I don’t know how I missed this news for so long.

They offset that with PR over refusing cooperation with the FBI. A lot easier to be principled in the countries where the rule of law is followed.

And then Apple gave up on strongly encrypting user backups so govs can just ask nicely for iPhone users data anywhere in the world:


This is unfortunately the only way to operate an online service in China. It’s standard practice (and a legal requirement) to hand off the ownership and control of Chinese servers to a separate Chinese company. Apple has been pretty transparent about this.

One could argue that Apple should have just exited the Chinese market instead of letting the local government spy on their citizens. Google has taken that position.

Apple followed Chinese law, and that’s why iCloud and iMessage are available in China.

It’s a similar situation for Microsoft Teams and Skype.

If Facebook does the same, they will be available in China too. Google tried to do it with their Project Dragonfly, but bad publicity made them stop.

Is there a Chinese law that requires all cloud services to be operated by regime owned companies? Could they not have provided that service themselves from inside China and comply with the law only to the extent necessary?

Is there a law that requires them to offer iCloud at all if they want to sell their hardware there?

Is there a law that requires them to ban side-loading?

It seems to me that Apple is always doing a bit more than they are required to do under the law. They clearly want to stay in the good graces of those regimes, especially in China.

But I do agree that the problem in general is structural and not specific to Apple. I think there should be something akin to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to limit what those corporations can do in other countries. There has to be a limit to their aiding and abetting human rights violations.

> How would it blow up in their face when Apple's customers don't care?

There are multiple of different negative actions that can be taken against a company, beyond just customers refusing to buy the product.

These potential actions have the ability to cause Apple, and their employees, lots of harm.

For example, in America, one negative action that many people are taking against Apple is lawsuits (Apple has lots some lawsuits, in the past, and lost a bunch of money over it).

But, there could be many other ways to harm Apple, beyond those examples. EX negative publicity, people or companies refusing to work with Apple, and many other things.

> How would it blow up in their face when Apple's customers don't care?

It's very important to remember that a big part of Belarusian protesters work in IT and even in Apple

Why would this blow up in their face? Have you seen the lines outside Apple stores whenever they launch a new product?

Apple customers do not care. There is a small minority of people who care (like people on this site) but I bet even they will continue to buy Apple products.

We are talking about a mind bogglingly rich company with arrogance to match. Even if this gets them bad PR, it will be forgotten in a few minutes.

Not me. I feel like Apple has to actually compete with often times higher quality luxury products in 2020.

No reason for me to buy any new Apple products and after this news, I won’t.

But you are in the minority. Also, what other alternatives do we have? Google, Amazon, Microsoft... all equally bad or worse. I can't think of any big tech company really standing up to authoritarian (or even democratic) governments, can you?

I agree. But Google's phones are better (in my opinion), the only reason I bought an iPhone is for privacy reasons - if Apple is going to renege on that branding, then no reason not to go back to the better product.

Apple was banking on privacy marketing as a competitive edge. I think that was a good strategy. Since they appear to be worse at executing on that strategy than I thought they would be, they are losing that segment of the market.

Not a big one at all, but https://puri.sm is trying to stand up.

Android makers and telegram could make huge PR/marketing campaign out of this.

I mean huge. Outdoor posters and slogans. TV shows.

I mean, this is truly Orwellian stuff, but in real world. Old uncharismatic dictator recruits huge soulless machine of most powerful corporation in the world to rule small poor country. I know this is not entirely true, but people will love this.

Unfortunately, I doubt anyone would care for longer than a week. The privacy angle is irrelevant to most of their customers.

Is privacy not the main way Apple is trying to market themselves against Google?

I doubt Apple fanboys even know about Belarus, after all the media is pointing them everywhere but where actual tyranny, injustice and oppression occurs.

Weird usage of what’s happening in Belarus to seemingly try to minimize some domestic issue you don’t like?

Pray tell, what domestic issue that I don't like am I trying to minimize? And in answering that, try to not assume the only two places in the world that exists is Belarus and USA.

> Here is the link to one group that uses ML to de-anonymize people: https://youtu.be/FAJIrnphTFg


Well, just like apple can auto remove applications that were pushed out from their app store, they certainly can install new application signed with privileged entitlements on your phone that can spy on you without you even knowing. Remember that when apple advertises that "built for security" garbage on you.

At least with most androids you can unlock the bootloader and install something like linageos and remove google services to stop their ability to spy on you.

Strength to you, these are very difficult times and the same tech that can help you can just as easily be used against you. Apple is very much in the wrong here but dollars tend to be more important than principles so I hope that this will end well. Be careful!

Curious why dont you use Signal? Is Telegram more convinient? If so, in what aspects? Signal has group chats that are fully end to end encrypted so that noone can demand to take something down because noone is able to see inside the chat (except participants).


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