Since Cook became Apple‚Äôs head as Steve Jobs was dying in 2011, Apple has unshakably pushed for same-sex marriage and other LGBT ideals while supporting boycotts of North Carolina and other states that pushed back against the transgender agenda. At the same time, it has maybe realistically, but certainly cynically, been the Chinese government‚Äôs little brother in suppressing freedom of information. China‚Äôs leaders have banned depiction on television of LGBT relationships.
Since Chinese government censors block popular sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and The New York Times, millions of Chinese use virtual private networks (VPNs) to access those websites or connect with colleagues in other countries. But this year the Chinese government with help from U.S. tech companies is cracking down on VPN usage. At the end of July, Apple became the latest in a long line of tech companies to...
In 2014, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn agreed to work with the Chinese government and today continues to censor sensitive posts by its users. Facebook, now banned in China, has tried desperately to get back into the country: Founder Mark Zuckerberg kowtows by asking his employees to read a propagandistic book by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Apple in July not only eliminated VPNs from the App Store, but also started building its first data center in Guizhou. The center will be operated by Guizhou-Cloud Big Data, which was co-founded by the provincial government, so having a data center in China will make it easier for the Chinese government to hack into iCloud accounts or use legal means to force Apple to give up information on dissidents. Although Apple promised that the company would not allow any back doors into its system, the company‚Äôs record leaves few dissidents assured.
As Apple dropped VPNs, others have followed suit: In August, the Chinese partner of Amazon‚Äôs cloud computing services sent emails to its clients asking them to delete their VPNs and other tools used to circumvent China‚Äôs ‚ÄúGreat Firewall.‚ÄĚ Several luxury hotels in Beijing have stopped providing VPNs to their largely foreign customer base