Gardner to Apple: Do You Actually Care About Human Rights? | NTK Network Gardner to Apple: Do You Actually Care About Human Rights?

Gardner to Apple: Do You Actually Care About Human Rights?

During a Capitol Hill hearing, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) questioned Apple’s VP for software technology about the tech giant’s commitment to human rights.

By NTK Staff | 09.26.2018 @3:15pm

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) grilled Guy Tribble, Apple’s vice president for software technology, about the company’s commitment to human rights during a hearing on Wednesday.

Apple has come under increased scrutiny in the past few years for assisting the authoritarian regime in China in shutting down Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which allow users in China to gain access to the full and free internet. China’s so-called “Great Firewall” prevents most users from accessing a wide variety of online content, including information critical of the authoritarian regime.

Apple also complied with Chinese demands that the company move all of its iCloud storage data belonging to Chinese citizens to storage facilities in China. That move drew criticism because it potentially could allow government officials to view sensitive information and use it to limit free speech, or worse.

These are the very concerns Gardner raised with Tribble on Wednesday.

“News reports revealed that Taiwan’s flag emoji was not accessible of iOS users located in Mainland China,” Gardner said. “This follows other instances of complying with Chinese demands, including removal of VPN apps on the App Store, forced data localization and the potential for Chinese government access to sensitive personal information about dissidents and ethnic minorities.”

Gardner then directed his question to Tribble: “Does Apple consider the safeguarding of human rights and protection against government oppression when developing your software?”

“We make our products for customers, not countries,” Tribble responded. “And our values and beliefs, including privacy and security, don’t change from country to country. And privacy is one of our central values.”

Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that China’s vision for how to handle the future of cyberspace “is a vision we at Apple share.”

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