> 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?
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.
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 know should we be 'realistic' or should we be 'accurate' when we make a point. This is a strange time.
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.
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.
Not only that, the stance they are taking is with a dictator who stole the election ...
To throw a dumb example your electricity company is not policing you for how you are using your killowats.
(Not stating my personal examples, too contentious, but I'm sure you could find your own).
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.
How ineffective was that protest?
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.
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’s not simple.
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.
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.
And let's not pretend that Apple has shown any willingness to stand up to the Chinese government.
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.
This is just one tool, and there will be killing with or without it.
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.
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.
Do you give an innuendo that this is somehow wrong?
- 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.
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.
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.
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).
"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.
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.
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
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?
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.
> 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"
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
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.
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, 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!
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.
Tim Cook is not qualified. No single person is.
That suggests either:
Apple stay out and the discussion moves to Telegram
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.
The problem with that belief is enforcement.
Because illegal numbers  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.
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?
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.
Both of which are contingent on end users not being allowed to possess strong encryption.
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.
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.
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
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.
Not meddling means enforcing its TOS in an evenhanded way. Otherwise it's playing favorites.
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.
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 need to have racial equality and an even-handed police force? They don't either.
Don't worry, Apple doesn't have to decide anything here. The US government already did.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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?
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
I can't judge you personally, but history will.
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.
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 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 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.
Those are very different things, and it is necessary to differentiate between the two.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Contrary to your goal you actually made Durov sound much more impressive.
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.
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.
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.
As long as they operate an app store, they will be a target. Just might not be the only target.
That's kinda the point that having a single controlling entity makes the ecosystem vulnerable to this kind of pressure.
I wish it weren’t so.
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.
You mean like the MAFIAA has been doing for decades?
My point was that any similar attempt would likely be just as unsuccessful.
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
I, too, can cheer on HK, whatever that means...
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?).
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.
It seems a lot closer to the argument DoingIsLearning is making about why “Apple employees” have blood on their hands.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I don't think so. IT is 5% of Belarusian GDP.
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.
You can even check if it matches up if you meet in person or if you communicated using another medium.
Because they are usually pretty aggressive about acting on inciteful content.
Also known as accountability for their own actions.
The mechanism is already in place and ready to be expanded to include anything more as necessary.
Plus they make and sell communication apps subject to carrying the exact same sentiments. Content policing a chat app is asinine.
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.
Actually no they can’t much of the world has laws to prevent such abuses of power.
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.
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.
> Customers expect that from apple
> 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.
If you believe democracy to be unsightly and wrongful, then your believes are reactionary, and must be subject to rectification.
Somehow in your definition democracy is something only allowed to happen organically, if forcefully torn from you by corruption and guns, "oh well".
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.
The App Store is theirs and they will kick you out if they don't like you. Isn't that good enough?
Are you sure? I remember people backing Apple when they were protecting users phones from FBI hacking.
The reality was their phone did get "hacked" and Apple participated in PRISM.
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
> 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.
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.
> 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”.
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.
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.
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 case was partially overturned by Brandenberg, where that example was superseded by "incitement to imminent lawless action," as it's more specific.
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."
Here is the link to one group that uses ML to de-anonymize people:
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."
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."
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 )
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.
Woah. I don’t know how I missed this news for so long.
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.
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 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.
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.
It's very important to remember that a big part of Belarusian protesters work in IT and even in Apple
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.
No reason for me to buy any new Apple products and after this news, I won’t.
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.
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.
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.