A proposal could force Apple to disclose alleged censorship actions
Apparently, there has been a proposal by campaign group SumOfUs, asking Apple to provide information in regards to its relationship with the Chinese government and the resulting censorship of Chinese customers. Concerns include Apple blocking certain apps from usage by Chinese customers or obstructing the Chinese people’s right of free expression.
Now, two influential corporate governance groups have backed up the proposal - Glass Lewis and ISS. They state that Apple should be more transparent in regards to the right of free expression.
But what causes those concerns to be raised? Glass Lewis and ISS underline multiple cases, reported by media, of Apple removing apps for Chinese customers. In 2016, Apple removed its iBooks Store and iTunes Movies services. In 2017, it removed several VPN apps that apparently had been used to bypass state censorship. Last year, Apple removed a mapping app called HKMap.Live which allowed Hong Kong protestors to track the Chinese police.
The proposal would force Apple to provide an annual report of the company’s censorship policies as well as a description of all the actions it took that could be considered limiting to free expression or obstructing access to information in response to government or third-party demands for the past year.
In opposition to SumOfUs stands the Apple board, including the company's CEO, Tim Cook, as well as former US vice-president Al Gore. Apple believes it has already provided enough information to its shareholders and users, giving as an example its report of the removal of 288 apps in the first half of last year, for “legal” violations. Most of them were related to illegal activities or content.