Apple’s Latest Moves Make Clear They’re All In on China | NTK Network Apple’s Latest Moves Make Clear They’re All In on China

Apple’s Latest Moves Make Clear They’re All In on China

Despite human rights concerns, Apple is moving data storage to China and Tim Cook is chairing a state-sponsored business forum next month.

By NTK Staff | 02.26.2018 @1:00pm
Apple’s Latest Moves Make Clear They’re All In on China

If there was any lingering doubt about where Apple stood after CEO Tim Cook declared in December that Apple was “subject to the laws and regulations” of China, recent actions of the CEO have dismissed those doubts entirely.

Apple’s latest capitulation to China includes a potentially dangerous transfer of iCloud data from U.S. facilities to data centers in China. A new Chinese law required Apple to do so, and the tech giant happily complied.

Now, Chinese authorities will have “far easier access to text messages, email and other data stored in the cloud.” And that can spell trouble for China’s already tightly controlled citizens. China will no longer be required to maneuver through the U.S. court system to acquire that data, making it easier to spy on its citizens.

CNBC explains why this is devastating news for those fighting for a more democratic China:

Human rights activists say they fear the authorities could use that power to track down dissidents, citing cases from more than a decade ago in which Yahoo Inc handed over user data that led to arrests and prison sentences for two democracy advocates. Jing Zhao, a human rights activist and Apple shareholder, said he could envisage worse human rights issues arising from Apple handing over iCloud data than occurred in the Yahoo case.

Adding insult to injury, it doesn’t appear that Apple is all that concerned about kowtowing to China. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Cook will co-chair a global business forum next month that is sponsored by China’s government.

When he co-chairs the China Development Forum in March, Mr. Cook will be making his fifth appearance at a newsmaking event in China in little over a year. The development forum is a sought-after event for the world’s business elite due to the rare access it offers to senior Chinese government leaders.

Critics argue that Apple’s appeasement of authoritarian leaders in China undercuts its “think different” slogan.

“Apple, for many years, has embraced the idea ‘think different,’” a Northwestern University professor told the Wall Street Journal. “And yet it’s become clear that in China you can’t think too different.”

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