Apple, China’s “Great Fire­wall”

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Emily Rauhala

BEI­JING» Moves by busi­ness giants Apple and Ama­zon to stop con­sumers from us­ing cen­sor­ship­skirt­ing apps in China have re­newed ques­tions about the ex­tent U.S. com­pa­nies are will­ing to work with au­thor­i­ties to op­er­ate in the vast but tightly con­trolled Chi­nese mar­ket.

Apple chief Tim Cook at­tempted to de­fend the com­pany’s de­ci­sion to re­move dozens of apps de­signed to cir­cum­vent cen­sor­ship from the Chi­nese ver­sion of its app store.

In an earn­ing’s call for Apple’s quar­terly fi­nan­cial re­port, Cook said China tight­ened its rules on vir­tual pri­vate net­works, or VPNs, in 2015, and was now mak­ing a re­newed push to en­force them.

“We would ob­vi­ously rather not re­move the apps, but like we do in other coun­tries, we fol­low the law wher­ever we do busi­ness,” he said last week.

By help­ing Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties curb the use of

Emany pop­u­lar VPNs U.S. tech com­pa­nies are seen as help­ing the Com­mu­nist Party bol­ster what is al­ready the world’s most elab­o­rate and so­phis­ti­cated cen­sor­ship regime, of­ten called the “Great Fire­wall.”

In ad­di­tion to block­ing the likes of Google and

EFace­book, China’s cen­sors shape what is pub­lished on­line, pull con­tent deemed po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive and, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study, even in­ter­cept im­ages be­ing sent via chat apps.

Cook ar­gued that pulling some apps beat pulling out of the mar­ket.

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