Apple CEO Tim Cook: Bowing to China Not in Conflict with Company’s ‘Values’ | NTK Network Apple CEO Tim Cook: Bowing to China Not in Conflict with Company’s ‘Values’

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Bowing to China Not in Conflict with Company’s ‘Values’

During an interview with NPR, Cook was hammered on moving iCloud data storage to China and shutting down VPN apps in the authoritarian country.

By NTK Staff | 06.05.2018 @11:00am
Apple CEO Tim Cook: Bowing to China Not in Conflict with Company’s ‘Values’

“Is it getting harder to follow the values that are important to you, as an executive, when doing business in China?”

That was the question posed to Apple CEO Tim Cook during a recent interview with NPR.

“No. No, not at all. The — we don’t — we never move off of our values,” Cook said. “Never.”

But when pressed on the specifics of what Apple has done – complied with China’s demand that Apple move Chinese customers’ iCloud data to Mainland China and shut down all virtual private network (VPN) apps in its App Store in China – Cook found himself leaning on convoluted explanations for questionable decisions made by Apple.

When asked if moving the iCloud data to servers in China gave the government there easier access to users’ personal information, Cook called it a “faulty assumption.”

Well that’s a faulty assumption that you’re making. The same encryption that Apple uses in the United States, and in the United Kingdom, and in France and in the UAE, is the same encryption we use in China. And you know, iMessage is encrypted end-to-end there and encrypted end-to-end here. And they never ask us to break that.

Cook added that China simply asked that their citizens’ data be stored within the country. “But I would separate for a minute that that equals access,” he added. “I don’t buy that at all.”

When pressed about Apple deleting 600-plus VPN apps in its China App Store, a move that prevented users from getting around the so-called “Great Firewall” and accessing the full and free internet, Cook admitted that it was “bothersome” to comply with China’s demands (but, of course, they did it anyway).

Yes, it absolutely is. It’s something that we didn’t want to do. Unfortunately, unlike the U.S. where we felt we had the law on our side in the famous case where the FBI sued us, we did not have the law on our side in China. The law is pretty clear that you have to have a license in China to operate a VPN service. And so there actually are still VPN apps on the store. Less than there were, because there were a set of companies that didn’t get a license.

Unfortunately for Cook, these explanations do two things: first, they remind Americans about the numerous controversies in which Apple is involved with human rights abusers like China. And second, they don’t appear to hold water. Apple refused to comply with U.S. authorities on numerous occasions, including when the FBI requested access to the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. If Apple is not willing to comply with U.S. authorities, why are they playing ball with an authoritarian regime like China?

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