New York — The recent reports of Apple’s removal of the Chinese version of the Quartz news app and the HKmap.live app from the App Store, as well as the censorship of iOS mobile games in China, raise questions about the company’s commitment to freedom of expression.
In an open letter to Apple, Access Now expressed concern over the censorship of these and other apps, calling on the company to affirm its commitment to protecting freedom of expression. “Respect for freedom of expression must be at the core of the relationship between a technology company and its users, and the removal of these apps infringes that right,” said Peter Micek, General Counsel of Access Now. “Furthermore, by undertaking these actions at the behest of government authorities with a proven record of censorship, Apple is demonstrating that it prioritizes financial interests over its users’ fundamental rights to freedom of expression.”
“Apple’s role as one of the most powerful technology companies in the world means that its practices and policies set standards across the industry,” said Isedua Oribhabor, Access Now U.S. Policy Analyst. “We are calling on Apple to affirm its commitment to freedom of expression by restoring the censored apps to the App Store and publishing a human rights policy, as recommended by the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”