Apple Accused Of Censoring Apps In Hong Kong And Russia

Apple has been accused of selling out human rights for the sake of profit by cooperating with authoritarian censorship demands in China and Russia, according to two reports issued on Thursday.

The reports, “Apps at Risk: Apple’s Censorship and Compromises in Hong Kong” and “United Apple: Apple’s Censorship and Compromises in Russia,” were released by the Apple Censorship Project, which is run by free speech advocacy group GreatFire.

“As our two reports show, examples of Apple’s censorship abound,” said Benjamin Ismail, campaign and advocacy director at GreatFire and project director of GreatFire’s Apple Censorship project, in a statement.

The report calls out “the insincerity of Apple’s self-proclaimed support for LGBTQ+ Rights.”

“Apple’s temporary withdrawal from Russia following the start of the war in Ukraine, and Apple’s decision to move part of its production out of China, have not provided tangible evidence of any improvement of the situation in the App Store so far. For all we know, Apple is still willing to collaborate with repressive regimes.”

Ismail said he expects the reports will be used to try to convince lawmakers to pass antitrust bills that aim to mitigate Apple’s App Store gatekeeping powers – something European lawmakers may have achieved with the recently approved Digital Markets Act.

The Hong Kong-focused Apps at Risk report contends that Apple’s 50 percent share of the smartphone market makes it the Chinese Communist Party’s de facto kill switch for politically challenging content.

It notes that

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