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Apple removes app used in Hong Kong protests after pressure from China

Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,696
It's public information. Not a secret who's on their board.

It ultimate wouldn't make a difference. These people aren't gonna choose between a billion potential customers and their job.
Just because it's public doesn't mean it's visible. Nutrition info is also public, you still have to tell people if it's a really bad idea to eat it.

Or another example is local elections. They are public, but unless the local media runs a story on why a candidate sucks you really don't have much to say about them because you don't know them.
 

Scuffed

Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,398
Many who buy Apple products are very very passionate supporters and buy everything Apple the day it comes out. I have generally bought an Ipad every 4 years but outside of that I'm not an Apple user at all. There will be more and more straws on the camel's back because China censorship will only get worse and more overreaching. I don't think constant appeasement is sustainable.
 

Netherscourge

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,257
The Chinese government uses its population as a tool to control global corporations.

Both as a huge customer base and as a cheap-labor manufacturing base.

They know that businesses are amoral and don't give a shit about anything but money. Businesses can outsource their production and/or export their products to China and use the excuse that it's China's fault for the human rights violations, not their own fault.

It's sickening, but nobody really cares because everything is made in China and everyone is using products made mostly in China.
 

Kosmokrator

Member
Jan 2, 2018
266
“Do not weep. Do not wax indignant. Understand.” -Baruch Spinoza

Understand that China for Apple represents not just their biggest market but their biggest producers and suppliers.

Understand that at this point the relationship between Apple and the Chinese state is more important for the profitability of Apple than either a statistically insignificant boycott or their relationship with the US state (which will continue to insulate them from taxation and political pressures as a national champion).

Stop expecting a moral or even revolutionary ethos from corporations, y’all love to mock “corporations are people” but then also unconsciously endow these same corporations with human qualities like moral turpitude.

Corporations have only one imperative, to profit and accumulate capital.
 

Kthulhu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,163
Just because it's public doesn't mean it's visible. Nutrition info is also public, you still have to tell people if it's a really bad idea to eat it.

Or another example is local elections. They are public, but unless the local media runs a story on why a candidate sucks you really don't have much to say about them because you don't know them.
You don't get to pick who's on Apple's board.

Only way to get Apple to change it's to make their actions unprofitable. The board won't care otherwise.
 

Fuu

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,400
Hmm. This looks about 75% Phone Warz and 25% ethical disaster.
  1. The statement from Apple never states this was due to pressure from China, but rather pressure from Hong Kong due to ambush of police and making people feel unsafe by identifying where police are absent. That may be bullshit but it isn’t a directive from “China”/ the CCP.
  2. The app was on the store for 5 days. The claim that this was commonly used by protestors seems misleading since practically all protest action thus far happened before the app was available.
  3. The service is still accessible from iPhones as a web service. It’s hard to see why the app is even necessary in that case.
  4. Furthering the point about the web service as an alternative, the app actually represents a risk for the users in that Apple must have records of which Apple accounts have retrieved the app from the App Store, information that Apple could be compelled to turn over to HK authorities. Removing the app removes that legal risk for Apple and the protestors. I have to wonder if demands for user data wasn’t at least on the minds of Apple’s legal department when they advised on this.
On the other hand, it’s true that Apple follows the laws of the countries they do business in, and where those laws are abusive or suppressive they act in ways that are brutal or suppressive. That’s worthy of condemnation.
Thanks for the sensible post.
 

hjort

Member
Nov 9, 2017
1,685
Eventually capitalism will ditch democracy, dangerous times ahead.
Capitalism was never democratic to begin with. It cares not about concepts like that. It's like an eldritch horror with its own goals and desires, and we are merely allowed to exist in its shadow, for now, because we are so insignificant. Of no consequence whatsoever.
 

EdibleKnife

Member
Oct 29, 2017
4,556
This will literally blow some people's mind.

Blizzard is easy to avoid, but Apple stuff?
Gaming side-wise, there are a lot of people who have started or plan to start giving Apple $5 a month for their Apple Arcade service. I’m one of them and at the very least I plan to end my subscription today while I spend the rest of the month hunting for a different smartphone provider and I hope others are at least willing to do that much.

In this case thankfully the rationale of “what about the devs” holds little water when a significant amount of the games on the service will be available on other platforms so there’s no need to stick to supporting Apple in specific and I hope there are devs who will follow suit to either remove their games and/or end any future partnership.

It’s optimistic but hopefully a big hit to their most recent and promoted premier service will send a message.
 

Reinhard

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,161
At least Samsung won't be manufacturing phones in China any more. Companies need to start moving away to be less dependent, but of course certain components and rare earth materials will be coming from China so every company will still at least be partially dependent on China. But when you only depend on China for some components instead of the entire manufacturing process, the Chinese government won't hold as much sway.

This is all moot for Apple who will bend over backwards to do whatever the Chinese government tells them because they sell allot of iPhones in China.
 

Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,696
You don't get to pick who's on Apple's board.

Only way to get Apple to change it's to make their actions unprofitable. The board won't care otherwise.
You don't pick anyone involved in corporate decisions, that doesn't mean you cannot pressure and make them personally uncomfortable for doing bad things.
 

Ravensmash

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,151
Hmm. This looks about 75% Phone Warz and 25% ethical disaster.
  1. The statement from Apple never states this was due to pressure from China, but rather pressure from Hong Kong due to ambush of police and making people feel unsafe by identifying where police are absent. That may be bullshit but it isn’t a directive from “China”/ the CCP.
  2. The app was on the store for 5 days. The claim that this was commonly used by protestors seems misleading since practically all protest action thus far happened before the app was available.
  3. The service is still accessible from iPhones as a web service. It’s hard to see why the app is even necessary in that case.
  4. Furthering the point about the web service as an alternative, the app actually represents a risk for the users in that Apple must have records of which Apple accounts have retrieved the app from the App Store, information that Apple could be compelled to turn over to HK authorities. Removing the app removes that legal risk for Apple and the protestors. I have to wonder if demands for user data wasn’t at least on the minds of Apple’s legal department when they advised on this.
On the other hand, it’s true that Apple follows the laws of the countries they do business in, and where those laws are abusive or suppressive they act in ways that are brutal or suppressive. That’s worthy of condemnation.
This is a good post. Thanks.
 

Liyfda

Member
Oct 27, 2017
224
Tim’s memo to employees
It is no secret that technology can be used for good or for ill. This case is no different. The app in question allowed for the crowdsourced reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, protest hotspots, and other information. On its own, this information is benign.
However, over the past several days we received credible information, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present. This use put the app in violation of Hong Kong law. Similarly, widespread abuse clearly violates our App Store guidelines barring personal harm.
 

Ravensmash

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,151
That's bullshit, Tim.
Why?

If they have concerns that the app is being used to facilitate criminal behaviour then I can understand why Apple wouldn’t want it on their store.

Edit: And even if there’s a concern over how legitimate that information is, is it Apple’s job to counter that/rule otherwise?
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,696
Simulated footage of Apple's board after public backlash:

I'm sure they'd look different when someone is shoving a microphone in their face asking for comment.

---

Even if the protest app was being used for bad things (and of course the government sources would say it was) how the hell does that excuse banning Quartz?
 

inguef

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
12,644
Why?

If they have concerns that the app is being used to facilitate criminal behaviour then I can understand why Apple wouldn’t want it on their store.

Edit: And even if there’s a concern over how legitimate that information is, is it Apple’s job to counter that/rule otherwise?
The App is being used for people to stay safe/informed about what is going on and where. Or are you referring to protesting as 'criminal behavior'?
 

Dali

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,978
Apple is super essy to avoid purchasing from them. Will people have the moral conviction to do so? I doubt it.
I'm not in their eco system at all, but I imagine it would be difficult for people deeply entrenched to get rid of their products. Music purchased, creatives being used to operating their products, having to repurchase software, etc.
 

Ravensmash

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,151
The App is being used for people to stay safe/informed about what is going on and where. Or are you referring to protesting as 'criminal behavior'?

“However, over the past several days we received credible information, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present. This use put the app in violation of Hong Kong law. Similarly, widespread abuse clearly violates our App Store guidelines barring personal harm.”
 

Mindwipe

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,617
London
That statement is amazingly chickenshit, even by Apple standards.

Tim Cook is morally a terrible human being, and the iOS signing process is evil.