Apple data is being processed by Chinese state workers with the tech giant wiping tens of thousands of apps at the request of the government there, according to a new report.
The state employees are said to manage servers at its data center in Guiyang and another in the Inner Mongolia region, The New York Times reports. That means the government is able to access personal data of millions of Chinese residents.
The encryption technology used by Apple elsewhere has also been banned by China, according to the report.
Apps said to have disappeared include foreign news site and gay dating services.
And topics banned are said to include Tiananmen Square and independence for Tibet and Taiwan, according to Phillip Shoemaker, who previously ran Apple’s App Store.
This is all despite Tim Cook’s vow to protect civil liberties which saw the release of a controversial new privacy controls in April that requires iPhone users to give permission for apps to track their activity for advertising purposes.
The Chinese government is not thought to have gained access to the data, The Times reports. But documents seen by the paper suggest Apple has made concessions to make it easier for them to do so.
Tim Cook has vow to protect civil liberties by releasing controversial new privacy controls that requires iPhone users to give permission for apps to track their activity. That’s despite Apple data being processed by Chinese state workers and the tech giant wiping tens of thousands of apps at the request of the government there, according to a new report
The Apple data center in Guiyang as seen in a satellite image. The state employees are said to manage servers at its data center in Guiyang and another in the Inner Mongolia region. That means the government is able to access personal data of millions of Chinese residents
The Silicon Valley company now makes most of its products in China. It’s ‘Designed by Apple in California’ slogan has gone from designs at the request of Chinese workers.
In April Apple’s sales in the greater China region during the fiscal second quarter, which included the busy Lunar New Year shopping season, were up 87.5% to $17.7 billion, compared with a 57% rise in the previous quarter.
A fifth of its revenue come from the China region.
Cook has also made numerous trips to the country meeting with its leader Xi Jinping.
But Nicholas Bequelin, Asia director for Amnesty International, the human rights group, told the Times: ‘Apple has become a cog in the censorship machine that presents a government-controlled version of the internet.
‘If you look at the behavior of the Chinese government, you don’t see any resistance from Apple — no history of standing up for the principles that Apple claims to be so attached to.’
Matthew D. Green, a cryptography professor at Johns Hopkins University, added: ‘Chinese intelligence has physical control over your hardware — that’s basically a threat level you can’t let it get to.’
Cook has also made numerous trips to China, meeting with its leader Xi Jinping
Apple store in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China; In April Apple’s sales in the greater China region during the fiscal second quarter, which included the busy Lunar New Year shopping season, were up 87.5% to $17.7 billion, compared with a 57% rise in the previous quarter
A spokesperson for Apple told DailyMail.com: ‘We have never compromised the security of our users or their data in China or anywhere we operate.
‘Many of the assertions in this report are based on incomplete, outdated and inaccurate information.
‘In China, the law stipulates that iCloud data belonging to its nationals must remain in the country. We comply with the law, but we make no compromises on user security.
‘We retain control of the encryption keys for our users’ data, and every new data center we build affords us the opportunity to useApple’s most cutting-edge hardware and security technologies to protect those keys.’
On removing apps it added: ‘These decisions are not always easy, and we may not agree with the laws that shape them. But our priority remains creating the best user experience without violating the rules we are obligated to follow.’
A worker in a cloud service datacenter of the China Mobile in Nanjing city in east China’s Jiangsu province
Employees line up for row call before their shift starts at a Pegatron Corp. factory in Shanghai, China, on Friday, April 15, 2016. This is the realm in which the world’s most profitable smartphones are made, part of Apple Inc.’s closely guarded supply chain
Government owned Guizhou-Cloud Big Data now has legal ownership of Apple customer data. Terms and conditions include signed by Chinese customers read: ‘Apple and GCBD will have access to all data that you store on this service.’
Chinese exile Guo Wengui is also said to be banned on the App Store in China.
It was reported Monday that Wengui is behind a fake news network peddling lies about COVID vaccines, the election and QAnon.
Research by network analysis firm Graphika and first shown to The Washington Post indicates news websites, social media, local action groups and non profits linked to Wengui work together to spread the disinformation.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and others say Apple’s moves to release privacy controls are self-serving and will help cement its dominance in the mobile space, while hammering their profits.
Cook has repeatedly defended the update, part of Apple’s iOS14 operating system, arguing it is necessary because targeted advertising is ‘manipulating’ people and being served to their devices without their explicit permission.