Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 30th Jul 2017 20:56 UTC
Apple

China appears to have received help on Saturday from an unlikely source in its fight against tools that help users evade its Great Firewall of internet censorship: Apple.

Software made by foreign companies to help users skirt the country's system of internet filters has vanished from Apple's app store on the mainland.

Profit over people is entirely normal for large corporations like Apple. They rarely choose the other way around.

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One word for them
by Sauron on Sun 30th Jul 2017 21:18 UTC
Sauron
Member since:
2005-08-02

Shitsticks!

Reply Score: 3

Censorship
by Alfman on Sun 30th Jul 2017 22:28 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

Thom Holwerda,

Profit over people is entirely normal for large corporations like Apple. They rarely choose the other way around.


Yes, it's par for the course, and the willingness of companies to normalize owner restricting technology is a large part of the problem. Some will criticize china, or only the removing of these VPN apps, but we really should be taking a long view and criticizing the digital jails that apple (and others) are building and profiting from too. The downfall of our app freedoms happened with the rise of "walled garden" platforms, a much kinder way to say "digital prison", long before china got involved. It did not take chinese demands to build an app censorship platform, not at all. Apple already did it on their own with no coercion at all for their own selfish motivations. And now the oppressive regimes interested in restricting computer rights will benefit too.

Many of us have always known these restrictive platforms would keep becoming more onerous, and yet there are plenty of apologizers who claim computer freedoms aren't that important. I know everyone's entitled to an opinion, but I'm honestly pretty irate that an otherwise free society would so willingly embrace it's own shackles.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Censorship
by Sidux on Mon 31st Jul 2017 05:35 UTC in reply to "Censorship"
Sidux Member since:
2015-03-10

"Freedom consists not in doing what we like but in having the right to do it"
Apple doesn't give 2 cents to consumers since ROI is low. Chinese government banning Apple the right to sell their products in one of the most dense populated countries in the world would hurt Apple much more.
It's not only Apple to blame here.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Censorship
by Alfman on Mon 31st Jul 2017 14:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Censorship"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Sidux,

Apple doesn't give 2 cents to consumers since ROI is low. Chinese government banning Apple the right to sell their products in one of the most dense populated countries in the world would hurt Apple much more.
It's not only Apple to blame here.


I understand your point, but here's the thing, china did not ban unrestricted devices like windows or other operating systems. Sure they impose network censorship, block content, and prohibit the users from installing international VPNs, but the platforms were still under owner control. Apple brought about the rise of walled gardens and not china; this is why apple deserves the blame for taking control away from owners. This sets an awful precedent that enables many oppressive governments (even western ones close to home) to encroach their big brother powers on our own hardware!

Freedoms on our own machines is something I've been extremely passionate about over the years and the biggest threat in practice has actually been corporations rather than governments. The reason I submitted this article about china is because, for better or worse, many people are unwilling to incriminate these actions coming from a domestic company like apple that they are already fond of. Whereas they are willing to incriminate the actions of "communist china".

So here's the deal: be critical of china, but also be critical of companies like apple that provide them with the tools of oppression on devices that we own. It's so easy to find people against governmental "walled gardens", we need to educate them that corporations pushing "walled gardens" is the same thing.

Edited 2017-07-31 14:26 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Censorship
by mistersoft on Mon 31st Jul 2017 17:39 UTC in reply to "Censorship"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

very well put

makes me think - in the U.S. at least, could these walled garden-jails ultimately risk treading on 1st Amendment/Freedom of speech rights if they go too far ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Censorship
by WorknMan on Mon 31st Jul 2017 19:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Censorship"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

makes me think - in the U.S. at least, could these walled garden-jails ultimately risk treading on 1st Amendment/Freedom of speech rights if they go too far ?


Not unless there's a gun to your head, forcing you to use one. Personally, I like the walled gardens... not for myself, but for my tech-illiterate family and friends. It DRASTICALLY cuts down on the number of tech support calls I receive ;)

Edited 2017-07-31 19:01 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Censorship
by Alfman on Mon 31st Jul 2017 20:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Censorship"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

Not unless there's a gun to your head, forcing you to use one. Personally, I like the walled gardens... not for myself, but for my tech-illiterate family and friends. It DRASTICALLY cuts down on the number of tech support calls I receive ;)


Sideloaded apps have the exact same security model as store apps. Secondly just because people have a choice to sideload doesn't mean anyone has to or will. Whenever this comes up we hear also that sideloading is not important because very few will know how to and can do it...but so what? Just leave it optional. It's not a reason to justify striping away this right.

I will defend your right to make your own app store choice, but why should I be confined to your choice? It's fine that you choose the apple store for yourself, but it is not fine that others have to be shackled to it too!

WorknMan, I realize you don't have the same appreciation for such freedom, but can I get you to agree that apple would be able to serve both our interests with a "gated garden plus optional access to the rest of the world"? In other words, would you admit that giving me this freedom takes nothing away from you?

Edited 2017-07-31 20:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Censorship
by WorknMan on Tue 1st Aug 2017 16:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Censorship"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Sideloaded apps have the exact same security model as store apps.


But they probably don't get scanned like store apps, nor do they get removed when found to be malicious.

In other words, would you admit that giving me this freedom takes nothing away from you?


No I won't, and I'll tell you why - companies like Amazon tend to want to push their own app stores, so if I want to download Amazon Video on Android, I have to first download their app store just to get it. They can't get away with that shit on iOS, so I don't have to mess with it.

Having multiple app stores on a platform seems nice in theory, until you find yourself needing multiple ones just to get all the apps you want, and then it becomes a pain in the arse.

Edit: For clarification, I'm not knocking people who want the choice. I'm just saying it doesn't need to be mandatory on every friggin' platform.

Edited 2017-08-01 17:11 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Censorship
by Alfman on Tue 1st Aug 2017 18:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Censorship"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

No I won't, and I'll tell you why - companies like Amazon tend to want to push their own app stores, so if I want to download Amazon Video on Android, I have to first download their app store just to get it. They can't get away with that shit on iOS, so I don't have to mess with it.
...
Edit: For clarification, I'm not knocking people who want the choice. I'm just saying it doesn't need to be mandatory on every friggin' platform.


I can sympathize, but these two positions are hypocritical. You're saying that instead of complaining about my right to use alternative app stores on my devices, I should just get a different device. Well, instead of complaining about your right to download amazon video from the apple store, you should just download a different streaming app. I'm just saying it doesn't need to be in every friggin' store.

Of course, to make this argument one has to ignore all the good reasons that you may have for your choice of video streaming. In the same vein though, your argument ignores the good reasons we have for choosing a phone.

Back to the topic at hand: just because someone prefers or needs IOS doesn't mean they actually approve of being locked in the walled garden. Device owners should make their own choices and manufacturers should not block competition. Even if you don't want store competition yourself, I think it's still fair to say that society as a whole gains much more from competition than it looses from it.


Edit: I realize you're not knocking people who want a choice, but by siding with apple on the walled garden you are essentially arguing against the interests of people who want more store choices.

Edited 2017-08-01 18:46 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Censorship
by mistersoft on Thu 3rd Aug 2017 14:59 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Censorship"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

Thought experiment, if "the PC" dies, not dies dies, but goes from being "1 in every household" to 1 in every 5 households to 1 in 10 etc..

And the slack is taken up by more and more mobile devices with curated or even "locked" app stores. And (hypothetically) even laptops going the app store route (chromebooks virtually have it, macbooks would like to be mac app store only, windows would probably like to store only)-

In this mildly dystopian near future - how "locked down" do we wish to be?

Could the following ever work to bring a balance to security and choice/freedom:

Have governments step in via the regulators to mandate a divorce between device manufacturers and "app stores".

i.e. you can choose at set-up time (or after a factory reset) one of a potential myriad of app stores on any device - not all apps stores would cater to all devices however. e.g. Apple's app store would probably not stock any Linux or Android/Google apps, might eventually acquisce to holding some MS apps. Play store would probably be a free for all, holding apps from most platforms with relative minimal code screening vs Apple; and the Linux Freedom App store would also probable be a free for all platform wise and with no code checks at all. (of coures each store would have a "section" - iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Ubuntu phone or whatever; this could be a legal requirement even if it's allowed to be empty)

...Naturally not ALL the Apple/iOS apps available on the Play Store would also be available on the (apple)App Store, only a more conservative subset - therefore if you want included the less secure, more risky or more liberal iOS apps - you would have to slightly perversely choose the Play Store, MS store or Linux Freedom store to get them (as would any friends/colleagues you wanted to for instance communicate with should they be communications apps)

Presuming it goes without saying that what Apps in this scenario could actually DO when loaded on their respective OSes would still depend on all the design choices, philosophies and security model of the OS owner/developer.

----
Far-fetched, maybe a little.
Could it "work" - I reckon potentially...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Censorship
by Alfman on Mon 31st Jul 2017 19:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Censorship"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

mistersoft,

makes me think - in the U.S. at least, could these walled garden-jails ultimately risk treading on 1st Amendment/Freedom of speech rights if they go too far ?


I don't know. Historically governments use fear and hysteria to overturn individual liberties. If you think back to the san bernardino shootings, apple came out as a defender of our rights. I will give them credit for that, however their motivation in that particular case was defending their right to engineer crypto the way they see fit - they kind of used the public as ammunition against the FBI.

It's not really clear how actively apple would pick a fight with the government on our behalf when it doesn't have a horse in the race and the government's agenda for control is more aligned with apples.


There were members of congress working on a crypto bill last year.

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/04/14/474113249/...

While nothing got passed, a bill conceivably could pass and then it wouldn't be all that far fetched for the US to exert control over walled gardens: "Apple removes apps that help americans protect their privacy". Apple fighting for our right to install applications would only serve to implicate apple for it's own role in taking them away. This conflict of interest did not exist in the san bernardino case and probably means they'll be much less vocal on the issue of freedom from walled gardens.

Edited 2017-07-31 19:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Censorship
by mistersoft on Thu 3rd Aug 2017 15:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Censorship"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

Unfortunately I agree with most of that.

Regarding Governments and their interests though.. (they are a more interesting player than the corporations) as different branches and institutions within governments can have enormously different agendas and motives. e.g. antitrust regulators, homeland security, the high/supreme courts, and possibly least importantly politicians

I think computer and comms device ubiquity is only just becoming great enough for all the different forces and agendas (to begin) to equilibrate.

Just as traffic laws, stop signals and speed signs regulate traffic flow and our driving behaviour, and some folk buy light aircraft, microlights, drones and more and bypass some of the above -- so sideloading, tor, adhoc wifi mesh networks, linux, bsd, and free will will allow those who wish to "speed" or flyover or around some of more silly restrictions. Will be interesting to watch the coming digital evolutions

Reply Score: 2

Google didn't sell out.
by unclefester on Mon 31st Jul 2017 02:19 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

Google closed their Chinese operation instead of kowtowing to the Party.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Google didn't sell out.
by avgalen on Mon 31st Jul 2017 07:58 UTC in reply to "Google didn't sell out."
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

You either obey the law of the country you are operating in (Apple) or you stop operating in that country (Google).

Apple does the "practically right" thing to do, Google did the "morally right" thing to do. In this case I have a lot more respect for Google, but Apples customers and Apples bank-account cannot be ignored

The result of Google pulling out of China was simply that Google became irrelevant in China: By November 2013 its search market share had declined to 1.7% from its August 2009 level of 36.2% (src: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_China)

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Google didn't sell out.
by Kochise on Mon 31st Jul 2017 08:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Google didn't sell out."
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Wondering if China asks Apple to give them their crypto keys or lessen the crypto algorithms.

Such a long time have passed since https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtvjbmoDx-I

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Google didn't sell out.
by unclefester on Mon 31st Jul 2017 08:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Google didn't sell out."
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

You either obey the law of the country you are operating in (Apple) or you stop operating in that country (Google)


Sounds familiar:

IBM Germany, using its own staff and equipment, designed, executed, and supplied the indispensable technologic assistance Hitler's Third Reich needed to accomplish what had never been done before-the automation of human destruction.

www.virtuallibrary.org/ibm-and-quot-death-s-calculator-quot-2

Edited 2017-07-31 08:54 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Google didn't sell out.
by Megol on Mon 31st Jul 2017 09:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Google didn't sell out."
Megol Member since:
2011-04-11

You either obey the law of the country you are operating in (Apple) or you stop operating in that country (Google).


Exactly.


Apple does the "practically right" thing to do, Google did the "morally right" thing to do. In this case I have a lot more respect for Google, but Apples customers and Apples bank-account cannot be ignored


Morals aren't general. Most people willingly sacrifice freedoms in order to make a society work. In fact that is the general rule and those that absolutely don't are considered extremists. So where do one draw the line of what should be allowed and in what spheres of life those rules should apply? That varies, I doubt there are two persons with the exact same set of moralistic views.

Many people prefer stability in a less than perfect system. Who are we to tell them that they are wrong?


The result of Google pulling out of China was simply that Google became irrelevant in China: By November 2013 its search market share had declined to 1.7% from its August 2009 level of 36.2% (src: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_China)


Yep.

Reply Score: 2

It will backfire
by unclefester on Mon 31st Jul 2017 08:56 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

I hope that Apple sell fewer phones when the Chinese people realise they have been shafted.

Edited 2017-07-31 08:57 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: It will backfire
by Brendan on Mon 31st Jul 2017 10:10 UTC in reply to "It will backfire"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

I hope that Apple sell fewer phones when the Chinese people realise they have been shafted.


I'd assume that Chinese people know they're going to be shafted regardless of what they buy, and have known this for decades. This is only a minor change in the way they're shafted, and won't have a major effect on sales.

It's not like other countries (USA, etc) where the citizens don't realise they're constantly being shafted. ;)

- Brendan

Reply Score: 4

Comment Title
by Dr.Cyber on Mon 31st Jul 2017 09:44 UTC
Dr.Cyber
Member since:
2017-06-17

Profit over people is entirely normal for large corporations like Apple. They rarely choose the other way around.


You are stating cause and effect here. The cause is that they are willing to put profit over people, and the corresponding effect is that they get large due to the extra profit that this gives them.

So for me it is only to be expected that large corporations put profit over people. If they did not then they probably would not be large.

Reply Score: 1

coming soon to you...
by bolomkxxviii on Mon 31st Jul 2017 13:11 UTC
bolomkxxviii
Member since:
2006-05-19

China has been removing access to VPNs for a while now. Russia too is removing this security tool from its citizens. I doubt it will be long before the NSA tries the same thing here in the USA in order to fight "terrorists and child abusers". Just remember which companies declined to stand up for the rights of the people.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Mon 31st Jul 2017 14:22 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

Profit over people is entirely normal for large corporations like Apple. They rarely choose the other way around.


As if they had a choice, Thom.

If they want to keep selling in China, they have to comply. What are they supposed to do, leave China and leave the field clear to some competitor who is willing to comply? How does this benefit the people? In both cases, they can only have access to "compliant" products and app stores.

If you have a problem with that, elect lawmakers that promise to impose trade sanctions on China or even better stop trading with that horrible regime altogether 'till the regime changes course.

But you see, years of media brainwashing have convinced people that even talking about restricting trade with China is wrong, un-liberal and fascist.

It's forbidden.

Edited 2017-07-31 14:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by kwan_e on Mon 31st Jul 2017 14:44 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

As if they had a choice, Thom.


Of course they had a choice. They are not obligated to sell in China.

How does this benefit the people? In both cases, they can only have access to "compliant" products and app stores.


So may as well profit from oppression then, right? If everyone else is doing it, may as well get in on the action.

If you have a problem with that, elect lawmakers that promise to impose trade sanctions on China or even better stop trading with that horrible regime altogether 'till the regime changes course.


Complete red herring. Whether the government imposes trade sanctions or not does not make something less wrong.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by Alfman on Mon 31st Jul 2017 14:48 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

As if they had a choice, Thom.

If they want to keep selling in China, they have to comply. What are they supposed to do, leave China and leave the field clear to some competitor who is willing to comply? How does this benefit the people? In both cases, they can only have access to "compliant" products and app stores.

If you have a problem with that, elect lawmakers that promise to impose trade sanctions on China or even better stop trading with that horrible regime altogether 'till the regime changes course.

But you see, years of media brainwashing have convinced people that even talking about restricting trade with China is wrong, un-liberal and fascist.

It's forbidden.


I agree with you that it's complex, but there really is another genuinely good option...apple could give owners the keys to their own devices, in which case the onus would naturally fall on the owners to comply with china's laws.

Apple won't do this because giving owners control is not profitable, however it would allow apple to take the moral high ground and continue selling iphones in the country.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr
by acobar on Mon 31st Jul 2017 19:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kurkosdr"
acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

If I could I would up-vote yet another comment of yours but, somehow, Thom thinks that limit my liberty to do so is on best interest of OSnews. Hypocrisy!! ;)

Reply Score: 2