Tim Cook defends Apple's decision to pull VPN apps from China

Virtual Putin Network

Virtual Putin Network

Apple has also come under scrutiny for removing several virtual-private network apps from its App Store in China in response to similar pressure from the government. Essentially, as requirement for someone to operate a VPN, they have to have a license from the government there.

We're now discovering that Russian Federation is cracking down on VPN's as well.

"We would obviously rather not remove the apps", Apple chief executive Tim Cook said on Tuesday. We were required by the government to remove some of the VPN apps from the app store that don't meet these new regulations.

CNN reports that the Russian government plans to outlaw VPN use altogether.

"Sinnet is responsible for ensuring that its customers in China comply with local laws and their notice was meant to remind customers of their obligations", an Amazon spokeswoman said via email.

"When Apple removes an app from the app store of a given country, it affects all users who have registered with an address in that country, regardless of their physical location", he added.

Taken together, the recent moves by Apple and Amazon show how Beijing is increasingly forcing America's biggest tech companies to play by Chinese rules if they want to maintain access to the market.

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In a tweet, Star VPN posted that issue is a risky one that could cause other countries where the government takes charge of internet access to follow the same route. "These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business".

Amazon did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment outside of US 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".

"Golden Frog's core mission is to fight for a free and open Internet experience for users around the world, so we will file an appeal with Apple-but I am not hopeful", according to a company blog post written by Golden Frog president Sunday Yokubaitis.

The move comes as Russia's neighbour China continues its crackdown on VPNs. "It was very clear", Cook said.

State-run China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom were told to ensure that their 1.3 billion subscribers can't use VPNs to access blocked content, while popular VPN provider GreenVPN was shut down in early July. "In fact", he said, "they are actively helping the Chinese government expand its control globally".

While Microsoft and Amazon both run cloud services in China, similar ones run by local Chinese internet rivals dwarf them in scale.

Due to the extensive censorship demands made on foreign internet companies, Google formally withdrew from China in 2010 - although since then, the company has had multiple discussions with the country's leadership about returning.

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