The abrupt removal of the apps sparked a wave of criticism with many users accusing the U.S. company of siding with the communist regime in censoring Internet users. Others accused the tech giant of putting financial interests above values.
Virtual private network apps enable users to surf on the Internet privately and safely, by bypassing the many filters set in place by Chinese authorities to censor sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Google.
Apple’s recent war on the VPNs contradicts its image of an independent company that fights to protect its users’ privacy and freedom. Last year, the company was engaged in a standoff with the FBI for refusing to help federal agents unlock an iPhone that was used by one of the shooters in the 2015 San Bernardino attack that left 14 dead.
Apple Poised to ‘Engage’ with Chinese Authorities
So, many people accused the tech firm of having a double standard. Cook, however, said Tuesday that this is not the case. He explained that Apple only removed the apps that lacked a license from the Chinese government.
The Chinese App Store still has many VPN apps that were developed by people residing outside Chine, which don’t need licensing. Cook underlined that the company’s policy is to “engage” with all governments, even if it doesn’t agree with their policies.
He added that removing the VPN apps in China cannot be compared to last year’s incident with the FBI. In the U.S., the law was on Apple’s side, while in China, it isn’t.
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