US lawmakers on both sides criticized Apple on Friday and the CEO, Tim Cook, for “censoring applications” to “the order of the Chinese government.” Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Wyden, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, and representatives of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mike Gallagher, and Tom Malinowski have expressed concern over the withdrawal of an application allowing Hong Kong protesters to follow the police in the city.
“The decision made by Apple last week to accommodate the Chinese government by eliminating HKmaps is extremely worrying,” they wrote in a letter to Cook inviting Apple to “turn the tide, to demonstrate that Apple valued values in relation to market access.” men and women are struggling for human rights and dignity in Hong Kong. “Apple didn’t respond to a request for the comment on Friday.
Apple removed the HKmap. Live app from the App Store in China and Hong Kong earlier this month, claiming it violated local laws. The company also said it received “credible information” from the Hong Kong authorities that the software was being used “maliciously” to attack the police. Decision and reasoning have been widely questioned.
Cook, in a recent note to Apple employees, said that “national and international debates will survive us all and that they are important, they do not govern the facts.” On Thursday, the CEO met with the Chinese administration chief Xiao Yaqing in Beijing to discuss the protection of consumer rights, investment incentives, and business development in the country, according to a statement by the Chinese regulator.
“Cases such as this raise real concerns about whether Apple and other major US companies will comply with China’s growing demands rather than losing access to more than a billion Chinese consumers,” he said. wrote the lawmakers.
They also criticized Apple for removing other applications, including VPN applications that helped Chinese people bypass government online censorship. The letter states that Apple has “censored” at least 2,200 apps in China, citing data from the GreatFire non-profit organization. Apple says on its website that it has removed 634 apps in the second half of last year globally because of law violations.