I have been following this story for some days now, and I can’t figure out why US companies and brands are standing up for freedom of speech. The worst offender in this, in my opinion, is Apple, the so-called champion of privacy and human rights in the tech industry.
From Ars Technica:
“The app has been used to target and ambush police” in Hong Kong, Apple claims.
From Charles Mok’s Twitter:
Today I wrote to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, to tell him his company’s decision to remove HKmap live app from Appstore will cause problems for normal Hong Kong’s citizens trying to avoid police presence while they are under constant fear ofpolice brutality. Values over profits, pls!
I understand that no decision is easy. That there are many consequences to decisions from either angle. I also understand that this does not comport with Apple’s marketing and until now, what I thought to be a core philosophy.
From Nick Start writing for The Verge:
Apple capitulating to the Chinese government is nothing new. The company’s deep business interests in China, which include a majority of its consumer electronics supply chain, mean that in almost all cases, it abides by the country’s censorship policies and its sensitive reactions to any and all criticism of the Chinese government.
Apple must be scrambling for time. I can’t imagine they would want to continue to rely on Chinese manufacturers to assemble iPhones and other devices for them. While it is certain that this isn’t a decision one can do overnight, even with the power a company like Apple has, it also must be done in as little time as possible.
How long could that take? 1 year? 3 years? 10?
My guess is this is closer to 10 than 1.