In bid to improve censorship, China to summon Apple execs to discuss stricter App Store oversight

“A new challenge looms for Apple Inc. in China after internet regulators warned three video-app companies to do a better job of screening out pornography — an eye-popping task, as is evident here in the offices of the popular Huajiao streaming service,” Eva Dou reports for The Wall Street Journal. “When the Cyberspace Administration of Beijing issued the warning Tuesday to Huajiao and two other app companies to improve censorship, it also said it planned to summon Apple executives to discuss stricter oversight of the company’s App Store. Under regulations issued last year, app stores in China share responsibility for ensuring content is legal.”

“Apple is the only foreign company running a major app store in China. Its App Store includes video streaming services among its thousands of apps, but Apple itself doesn’t stream videos,” Dou reports. “Apple has said it follows local law about what content is illegal and must be censored.”

“In China, the range of forbidden content extends beyond pornography and violence to political speech. For chat apps and blogs, Chinese internet companies feed blacklists of sensitive words into screening software,” Dou reports. “For years, China state television broadcast important ‘live’ events with a delay of under a minute to allow it to reach censors’ eyes first. But with the explosion of live-streaming apps, any regular person in China can broadcast themselves live to tens of thousands of viewers across the country.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited. — Robert F. Kennedy

A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.

   — Ellen Hopkins

The Internet treats censorship as a malfunction and routes around it. — John Perry Barlow

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    1. Before everybody goes completely over the top and starts hurling stones, remember that we also live in a glass house.

      Note that the presenting “censorship” issue here is not political speech, but pornography. The commercial distribution of pornography is also a serious crime in the United States, although I suspect that the Chinese have a somewhat broader ban than our Supreme Court allows. Such material is clearly not protected by the First Amendment in America… and of course there is no comparable constitutional principle in China.

      The Chinese government is not doing anything the American government would not do in similar circumstances. It is clearly within its rights to seek cooperation in suppressing criminal activity. Apple can cooperate, or it can face the consequences. There is no third path.

      It is true that the Chinese also suppress political dissent, but at various points in American history, most recently during the World Wars, political speech has been strongly regulated, with the explicit approval of the judiciary. Press censorship in 1918 (“to prevent a panic that might affect the war effort”) materially contributed to the spread of the Spanish Flu that killed thousands of Americans and millions worldwide.

      Free speech under the Constitution is not absolute. Our current president has called for the repeal of the First Amendment jurisprudence that eliminates the ability of public figures to recover for false statements made without knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.

      This issue is not simply a case of freedom vs. totalitarianism.

      1. TxtUser: “Note that the presenting “censorship” issue here is not political speech, but pornography.”

        The Above Story: “In China, the range of forbidden content extends beyond pornography and violence to POLITICAL SPEECH.”

        you are braindead.

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