Last week, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Brendan Carr slammed Apple CEO, Tim Cook, for hypocrisy, after the Big Tech executive gave a speech regarding “Apple’s commitment to running the App Store in a way that promotes human rights.”
Carr argued that Cook’s words run counter to the “harsh reality of Apple’s conduct in China.”
In a letter to Cook, Carr noted that while the Apple CEO was speaking in D.C. about his “App Store policies promoting privacy and human rights,” his company was “continuing its well documented campaign in Beijing of aggressively censoring apps at the behest of the Communist Party of China.”
Carr concluded, arguing that it is “past time to stand up” for human rights, and for Apple to “evaluate its overall relationship with China, particularly its extensive manufacturing operations there, to ensure that these relationships reflect the global Apple voices.”
Carr’s criticism follows The New York Times’ bombshell report from May 2021, in which it was shown that Apple’s self-proclaimed quest for privacy doesn’t apply when it comes to users of its products and services in China.
According to the report, Apple planned to store user data at centers in Guiyang, China — and another in the Inner Mongolia region — after largely ceding “control to the Chinese government.” This involved Chinese state management of the computers, the abandonment of encryption technology not permitted by the Chinese regime, and “digital keys that unlock information on those computers” being held in the very “data centers they’re meant to secure.”
“But to stay on the right side of Chinese regulators, his company has put the data of its Chinese customers at risk and has aided government censorship in the Chinese version of its App Store,” the report said of Cook.
The report also detailed allegations by current and former employees of the Silicon Valley giant that Cook “ultimately approved the plans to store customer data on Chinese servers and to aggressively censor apps” on the Apple “App Store.”
This came despite Apple’s claim to be committed to both “human rights” and privacy. In their “Our Commitment to Human Rights” document, for example, they declared that they “feel a deep sense of responsibility to make technology for people that respects their human rights, empowers them with useful tools and information, and enhances their overall quality of life.”
According to the Big Tech giant, such “commitment” involves “setting the industry standard for minimizing personal data collection,” by building “ privacy protections into everything [they] make.”