Apple Inc. and CEO Tim Cook have gone big in efforts to capture consumers and profits in the People’s Republic of China, so the current outrage from the rest of the world over its obedience to the communist government – as it cracks down on dissent – appears to be a minor irritant not worth addressing.
Following the NBA’s cowardice last week – as the normally media-savvy league known for outspokenness against injustice by its executives, coaches and players suddenly turned mute after a pro-Hong Kong tweet outraged the ChiComs – Apple acceded to China’s censorship wishes as well.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has received accolades for free speech advocacy by respected institutions such as the Newseum, but the company is being called on the carpet for consigning its data storage services – especially crucial encrypted access keys – to a bunch of communists.
Amnesty International announced Thursday it would initiate a social media campaign against Apple, because the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant caved to the Chinese government and agreed to allow its customers’ data to be housed on servers there.
The effort coincides with a visit by Cook to the China Development Forum, where he is co-chairing an event sponsored by the government in which business leaders meet with public officials in an effort to improve relations.
It also follows only a month after Reuters reported that Apple agreed to store encrypted keys used to access customers’ (or, users’) data storage accounts (such as iCloud).
Whether the company is for or against the legislation is not known.
The bill has 88 co-sponsors, from Democrat “Squad” Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) on the far left, to conservative House Freedom Caucus members Mark Meadows (a former Representative from NC, now President Trump’s chief of staff) and Jody Hice (Ga.) on the right.
The legislation seeks to ensure that goods manufactured in the Xinjiang region of China, where hundreds of thousands of minority Muslim Uyghurs are persecuted and forced to work “at a fraction of minimum wage or without any compensation,” do not enter the United States market.
In another broadside against thePeople’s Republic of China, a top official in President Trump’s State Department last month urged American universities to divest their endowments from Chinese-owned corporations; to closely monitor or shut down on-campus activities that promote Chinese propaganda; and to protect research centers from Chinese theft of intellectual property.
And regarding investments, a special working group of the administration’s top financial regulators, led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, recommended the Securities and Exchange Commission impose stronger transparency rules for foreign companies that are listed on American exchanges. The step was primarily directed at China, whose companies’ financial disclosures are … Read More ➡
In announcing yesterday that Saudi shooter Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani – an aviation trainee who killed three U.S. service members and wounded eight at the Pensacola (Fla.) Naval Air Station in a mass shooting last month characterized as “jihad” – Attorney General William Barr said Apple Inc. has provided no “substantive” help in unlocking the late assailant’s two iPhones.
Apple disputes that claim.
The disagreement boils down to whether Apple is providing any useful information from Alshamrani’s data for the Justice Department investigation, or not.
“Within one day of the shooting, the FBI sought and received court authorization based on probable cause to search both phones in an effort to run down all leads and figure out with whom the shooter was communicating,” Barr explained, adding that the shooter damage both phones, one of them by shooting a round into it.
As member nations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change take their 25thstab at an international agreement to limit so-called greenhouse gas emissions, some American corporations are trying to make up for the absence of the United States as part of the deal.
President Donald Trump famously announced in June 2017 the U.S. withdrawal from the nonbinding Paris Climate Agreement, which was previously negotiated in 2015 with the willful participation of then-President Barack Obama. Even though the U.S. Senate never ratified the treaty, as is required, the U.S. acted as though it was legal and pretended to adhere to the accord. But then last month Trump gave formal notification to the U.N. of America’s departure from the pact, effective the day after Election Day, in 2020.
Have the corporate world and U.S. professional sports leagues finally gone too far carrying water for America-haters?
This week there has been a backlash against the National Basketball Association from China, following a tweet supportive of the pro-democracy Hong Kong protests by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey. After the immediate outcry, Morey deleted the tweet and the NBA and its partners began to grovel apologetically to the Chinese communists. The league has a reported $1.5 billion deal with a Chinese streaming company to broadcast its games, and an estimated 500 million citizens watched games last year.
Viewership isn’t all that’s at stake. Athletic shoe companies such as Adidas and Nike enjoy American support but desperately want to expand their audience and customer base overseas, especially to China. The hostile response to the tweet from the communist government threatens that market segment, where Nike took in an estimated $6.2 … Read More ➡
National Legal and Policy Center has submitted a shareholder proposal asking Apple Inc. to made a report on human rights, and specifically, free speech. The 2019 Apple annual meeting will take place in Cupertino, California in early 2019. Here is the text of the proposal and supporting statement:
Whereas, the Securities and Exchange Commission has consistently recognized that human rights constitute a significant policy issue.
Freedom of speech and association are fundamental human rights.
The Company operates in nations with systematic human rights abuses. The Company has abetted certain governments and non-governmental organizations in suppressing freedom of speech and association.
For example, our CEO in March 2018 co-chaired the so-called China Development Forum, sponsored by the Communist Chinese government. In December 2017, our CEO keynoted the World Internet Conference, another Chinese government event.
In February 2018, the Company transferred operation of its iCloud data center in mainland China to … Read More ➡
Apple again has taken a step it says will strengthen privacy for its millions of product users, but the heightened encryption measure has drawn criticism from law enforcement who want the ability to “crack” phones of suspects in search of information during criminal investigations.
And once again a decision by the company has called attention to the inconsistencies of its policies in free countries, as opposed to China.
The measure, announced Wednesday, would alter the settings on the iPhone to severely curb the ability of police to communicate with the devices via external “hacking” instruments. Previously law enforcement could connect and access the iPhones’ data in an unlimited fashion in search of accessibility passwords. Under the new update, the phones will lock out all attempts at access after an hour.
“If we go back to the situation where we again don’t have access, now we know directly all … Read More ➡
In what was widely perceived as a(nother) swipe at Facebook, and its customer data security problems with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Cook boasted that (because of a standard he said co-founder Steve Jobs established) Apple infallibly protects its customers’ privacy, unlike other companies who collect their data in order to monetize it.
“We reject the excuse that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy,” he said. “So we choose a different path: Collecting as little of your data as possible. Being thoughtful and respectful when it’s in our care. Because we know it belongs to you.
“In every way, at every turn, the question we ask ourselves is not ‘what can … Read More ➡