Russian Federation bans VPNs to stop users from looking at censored sites

Mandy Carr
August 3, 2017

Tim Cook on Tuesday addressed the controversy over his company's recent removal of some virtual private network (VPN) apps from its China App Store, reiterating that the USA company was simply complying with Chinese regulations.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook defended the company's decision to remove dozens of apps created to circumvent censorship from the Chinese version of its app store.

The company has been heavily criticised for removing several VPN apps, and was accused of "aiding Chinese censorship efforts".

Apple on Monday removed dozens of VPN apps and sparked outrage among free speech and digital rights advocates, who say the Chinese use VPNs to get around their government's stringent online censorship rules.

Analysts believed that the government has been more insistent on demanding companies to make acknowledgements following the passage of the new cybersecurity law, and ahead of the Communist Party conclave later this year, at which most of China's top leader are expected to be replaced.

"They're very different", Cook said.

They were also hopeful that the restrictions will ease eventually as innovation really needs freedom to work together and communicate.

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The move came at roughly the same time that Apple said it took down a number of apps from its China app store that help users vault the Great Firewall.

In its fiscal third-quarter, Apple said revenue from Greater China was $8 billion, down 25 percent from the prior quarter and 10 percent from a year ago.

VPNs are very important to a lot of businesses and various groups as they depend on its ability to connect to a more extensive internet. "These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business".

The government has been intent on tightening controls domestically as well.

Amazon did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment outside of USA business hours, but the firm told the Wall Street Journal that Sinnet was "responsible for ensuring that its customers in China comply with local laws".

The Chinese government is in indirect agreement with Russia's, after directing telecommunications companies earlier in July to obstruct users from accessing VPNs. Like we would if the USA changed the law here, we have to abide by them in both cases. "That doesn't mean that we don't state our point of view in the appropriate way". Software made by companies outside of China received messages from Apple over the weekend that their internet filters had been removed from China's mainland Apple App store. In order to operate in the country, China's biggest internet companies must stay in close contact with the government and carry out Beijing's various demands, whether they be a request for user data or to censor various topics.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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