Jul 31, 2017

Xiao Qiang criticizes Apple’s silence about Chinese censorship

From The New York Times

Apple’s Silence in China Sets a Dangerous Precedent

By Farhad Manjoo

A year ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation made an extraordinary demand of Apple. To get inside a dead terrorist’s iPhone, law enforcement officials wanted the company to create a hackable version of the software that runs all iPhones.

To many legal experts, it wasn’t obvious that Apple had a winning case against the request. But facing great legal and political opposition, Apple took a stand anyway. Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, argued that the company had a financial and moral duty to protect its users’ privacy and security....

Yet in China over the weekend, when faced with a broad demand by the Chinese internet authority, it was Apple that blinked....

“It will only get worse,” said Xiao Qiang, a Chinese human rights activist and an adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information. Mr. Xiao sees the latest crackdowns as the beginning of a new wave of internet censorship in China. And he doesn’t buy the argument that saying something publicly would have backfired for Apple.

“They should say something,” he said. “They are a U.S. company, after all. And they’re a global company, upholding standards of privacy and speech in many, many markets outside China. So if they have to do things differently in China, they should have some public explanation for why — because that attitude could matter globally, including in the U.S.”

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Adjunct Professor Xiao Qiang
Adjunct Professor Xiao Qiang

Last updated:

August 3, 2017