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.
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.