‘Apple’s Silence in China Sets a Dangerous Precedent’

July 31st, 2017

Dangerous precedent?

I think it’s more of a dangerous precedent du jour.

Apple blocks apps for the Chinese regime. Yes, that’s bad. But Cisco built China’s god damned Great Firewall in the first place!

In mentioning Apple’s, “Dangerous Precedent,” this New York Times article doesn’t mention Cisco at all. I’m definitely not defending Apple—their manufacturing practices in China are despicable, but in no way unique. However, Apple’s dalliances with the Chinese regime are minor in comparison to Cisco’s active participation in that state’s atrocities.

The actual dangerous precedent happened so long ago that it seems to have disappeared into the amnesia that constantly afflicts the New York Times.

Let’s go all the way back to 2002: Amnesty slams tech giants for ‘aiding’ Chinese human rights abuse:

The great and the good of the IT industry – including Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Websense – stand accused of aiding and abetting human rights violations in China.

China depends on the technological expertise and investment of foreign companies who, Amnesty International argues, are providing technology which is used to restrict fundamental freedoms.

And more recently: Cisco Must Be Held Accountable For Aiding China’s Human Rights Abuses:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging a federal appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit seeking to hold Cisco Systems accountable for aiding in human rights abuses by building the Chinese government a system that Cisco officials knew was intended to identify—and facilitate the capture and torture of—members of the Falun Gong religious minority.

In an amicus brief filed Monday with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, EFF and the groups ARTICLE 19 and Privacy International argue that the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that Cisco understood that the “Golden Shield” system (also known as The Great Firewall) it custom-built for China was an essential component of the government’s program of persecution against the Falun Gong—persecution that included online spying and tracking, detention, and torture.

In other words, there has been a long history of dangerous precedents involving U.S. companies and the Chinese regime.

Why would the New York Times disappear such obvious and substantial context?

My guess is that NSA is inside China’s Great Firewall due to Cisco’s participation:

But while American companies were being warned away from supposedly untrustworthy Chinese routers, foreign organisations would have been well advised to beware of American-made ones. A June 2010 report from the head of the NSA’s Access and Target Development department is shockingly explicit. The NSA routinely receives – or intercepts – routers, servers and other computer network devices being exported from the US before they are delivered to the international customers.

The agency then implants backdoor surveillance tools, repackages the devices with a factory seal and sends them on. The NSA thus gains access to entire networks and all their users. The document gleefully observes that some “SIGINT tradecraft … is very hands-on (literally!)”.

Eventually, the implanted device connects back to the NSA. The report continues: “In one recent case, after several months a beacon implanted through supply-chain interdiction called back to the NSA covert infrastructure. This call back provided us access to further exploit the device and survey the network.”

Therefore, Cisco’s far more egregious history in China goes *poof* in the New York Times piece about Apple’s accommodation of Chinese government whims.

Via: New York Times:

A year ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation made an extraordinary demand of Apple. To get inside a dead terrorist’s iPhone, law enforcement officials wanted the company to create a hackable version of the software that runs all iPhones.

To many legal experts, it wasn’t obvious that Apple had a winning case against the request. But facing great legal and political opposition, Apple took a stand anyway. Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, argued that the company had a financial and moral duty to protect its users’ privacy and security. He made clear that Apple would obey American law — but only after trying to shape the law.

The fight paid off. On the eve of a courtroom showdown, the F.B.I. rescinded its request. It is worth underlining this point: When Apple took a public stand for its users’ liberty and privacy, the American government blinked.

Yet in China over the weekend, when faced with a broad demand by the Chinese internet authority, it was Apple that blinked.

Apple pulled down several VPN apps — programs that allow iPhone users to bypass the Chinese government’s censorship apparatus — from its Chinese App Store. The developers behind the apps must register with the government under a cybersecurity law that went into effect in January. The law imposes criminal penalties on Apple and other companies that host unregistered apps.

Whatever Apple may have done in private to fight the Chinese internet law, the company has not offered a peep of criticism in public. Apple’s only public statement on the VPN ban said that the company had been “required to remove some VPN apps in China that do not meet the new regulations,” but noted that the “apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.” Despite the pulldown, Apple says there are still hundreds of VPN apps available on its Chinese app store, some of which remain unregistered with the government.

2 Responses to “‘Apple’s Silence in China Sets a Dangerous Precedent’”

  1. Dennis Says:

    Weapons of Mass Surveillance, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ‘Four Corners’.


  2. Dennis Says:

    How BAE sold cyber-surveillance tools to Arab states


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