Apple confirmed Sunday that it had removed software enabling users to maneuver the Great Firewall of China. This ignites the criticism that the firm was succumbing to the web censorship of Beijing that is growing tighter.
Chinese internet enthusiasts have been faced with massive restrictions on many web based activities, such as Twitter and Facebook. However, these internet users have found their ways with Virtual Private Networks (VPN), making them access such restricted services.
Beijing made it compulsory for all developers to get licenses from the government to offer VPNs, causing Apple’s decision. Speaking to AFP on Sunday, Apple said that it had been ordered to take off some VPN apps in China which fail to meet the recent regulations. However, these apps can be found in other markets where the company operates.
VPN providers decries the move
The two significant VPN providers, Star VPN and Express VPN, stated on Saturday that Apple told them the recent development that takes their services away from China. Express VPN said that the idea is astonishing and not favored.
Speaking on the recent development too, Star VPN pointed out that they’re disappointed with such development. And it shows the most strict and sudden step the Chinese government has taken to halt the use of VPNs. The firm added that they are not okay with the fact that Apple is helping the censorship efforts by China.
In a tweet, Star VPN posted that issue is a dangerous one that could cause other countries where the government takes charge of internet access to follow the same route.
Before this incident, Star VPN had already mapped out plans on how to construct a data center in China – an act which was meant to store the personal details of its local iCloud users.
Although China maintains the spot of having the biggest number of internet users, a report in 2015 by the US think tank Freedom House proposed that out of 65 nations analyzed, China possess the highest restrictive online use laws below Iran and Syria.
However, China says that the different types of web censorship it applies are vital for guarding the nation. The VPN crackdown policy follows the passing of a contested cybersecurity bill in November. The bill proposed tightened regulation on online freedom of speech new laws on service providers.
In line with the new bill passed, several celebrity gossip sites have been shut down, and new rules relating to online video content stated to remove programs that are seen as offensive.