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Senator Josh Hawley has written an open letter to Apple’s Tim Cook dinner, and amongst different matters, is accusing the corporate of serving to China suppress free speech.
Hawley has beforehand mentioned that Cook dinner, and Google’s Sundar Pichai, be held personally accountable over privateness points to do with coronavirus contact tracing. Now he says that Apple ought to lower its dependency on China, deliver work again to the US — and likewise mustn’t ban Twitter.
I might wish to know why @Apple continues to help and abet the totalitarian regime in #China whereas campaigning towards free speech at residence. My letter to Tim Cook dinner pic.twitter.com/TrnQcBmz4i
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 29, 2022
“[U]nder your management, Apple has repeatedly assisted the Chinese language Communist Celebration in surveilling and suppressing the essential human rights of the Chinese language folks,” he wrote. “On the similar time, it seems that Apple could be importing this mannequin of speech management to america: studies point out that your organization may deplatform Twitter from the App Retailer as a consequence of the free speech insurance policies applied by new possession.”
The Republican Missouri senator has offered Apple with an inventory of questions, and a deadline of December 6, 2022, to reply. The questions cowl:
- When will Apple condemn the remedy of employees in Zhengzhou?
- Why has it not already condemned this remedy?
- What are the “materials dangers” in Apple’s continued dependency on China?
- If China invaded Taiwan, what impression would this have on Apple?
- Why did Apple restrict AirDrop in China?
So far as Zhengzhou’s manufacturing facility goes, after the rioting began, Apple despatched a group to evaluate the scenario. It isn’t clear what else Hawley needs from Apple on this regard aside from maybe a extra vociferous assertion.
Apple has additionally been clear through the years about “materials dangers” in China, as detailed by SEC filings from the final decade.
It isn’t clear why Hawley believes that ought to Apple determine to take away Twitter from the app retailer for violating phrases of service doubtless associated to moderation, that might be “deplatforming.” Efficient good-faith moderation by all on-line companies is required to qualify for Part 230 protections towards user-generated content material within the US. A scarcity of moderation in a hosted app isn’t a significant authorized legal responsibility for the internet hosting App Retailer within the US, however exposes Apple to massive liabilities internationally, provided that Twitter is a worldwide service.
Moreover, even when pulled from the App Retailer, the service would nonetheless be obtainable to all earlier app downloaders, and on Safari as properly.
Senator Hawley additionally repeatedly asks how Apple communicates details about these points to its stakeholders. Aside from routine SEC filings the place it does tackle these issues, it holds an annual shareholders’ assembly,
He additionally needs Apple to element its “plan to diversify its provide chain and manufacturing networks, together with any plans to develop manufacturing of its merchandise in america with American employees.”
He additional asks that the corporate “present all communication between Apple and Chinese language Communist Celebration officers in regards to the AirDrop characteristic within the iOS 16.1.1 replace.”
AirDrop was restricted in China for what Apple known as testing, earlier than the current protests. Apple says that it’s a world-wide change coming quickly, to forestall a setting set by a person maybe way back, from permitting the unwilling receipt of nudes or different objectionable content material whereas in public.
Apple has not but responded publicly, nor are we anticipating it to. It isn’t clear if Apple will reply to Hawley’s letter in any respect.