Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) confirmed that it removed both Chinese-language and English-language apps of New York Times from its iTunes store in China late last month after a request from the Chinese authorities. Now, at least one US politician has targeted the Cupertino-based firm over its decision to delete The New York Times news app from its app store, says a report from CNBC.
Apple and its double standards
In a statement, Senator Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, slammed the tech giant saying “It’s a sad day when a great American company becomes complicit in Communist censorship of an American newspaper.” Cotton further said that the iPhone maker could have leveraged its position to “push for more openness in China,” but it sought to protect its own market access “at the expense of liberty.”
In its defense, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) said it is just complying with the “Chinese law ring hollow.” But only last year, the US firm challenged a US court order to aid a terrorism investigation and unlock the smartphone of a dead ISIS terrorist, Cotton said. Senator said the common theme running these actions is not principle, but just short-term profit.
“And the ultimate consequence will be a future that is more closed, less prosperous, and much darker,” Cotton said. This is not the first time that the Senator has targeted Apple or its CEO Tim Cook. Cotton charged Cook with omitting “critical facts about data encryption” during the encryption fight.
Why the app was removed?
Earlier, in a statement to CNBC, the tech giant said the New York Times app had been prohibited to display content to most users in China for some time, and they (the tech giant) were informed that the app is in violation of local regulations. As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store for now, and the App Store will once again offer the app when this situation changes, said the iPhone maker.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) refused to disclose which Chinese government authority issued the request, or what regulations were said to have been violated. The NYT, however, said the apps have been removed on Dec. 23. They were apparently removed under regulations issued last June that forbid mobile apps from engaging in activities that disrupt social order or endanger national security.
Was there any hidden intention?
Another fact worth considering is that the app was removed from the App store the same day a New York Times reporter contacted the tech giant for a story about billions of dollars in subsidies and hidden perks that the Chinese government offers to the largest iPhone factory in the world. The factory is being run by Apple’s partner Foxconn.
In addition, it must be noted that only the New York Times app was affected, not others, including the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, notes LA Times.