Ted Cruz, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among U.S. lawmakers urging Apple to restore Hong Kong police activity tracking app

First Apple pulled the HKmap Live app. Then they reinstated it. Then China criticized Apple, warning of “consequences,” so Apple CEO Tim Cook quickly kowtowed and pulled it again. Now a group of seven U.S. lawmakers including the unlikely duo of Senator Ted Cruz and Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are expressing “strong concern” over Apple’s servile willingness to ask “how high?” every time China demands they jump in order to curtail speech. The lawmakers warn Apple CEO Cook that “cooperation can become complicity.”

David Shepardson for Reuters:

A bipartisan group of seven U.S. lawmakers including Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Wyden and Marco Rubio and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday urged Apple Inc Chief executive Tim Cook to restore the HKMap app used in Hong Kong.

MacDailyNews Note: Here is the letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook from U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and U.S. House members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mike Gallagher, and Tom Malinowski:

Letter from U.S. Congress to Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding actions in Hong Kong

33 Comments

  1. Im pretty sure these opinions will have been forgotten the day riots start in Saudi or any other brutal dictatorship run nation or for that matter in the US: the freedom to provide apps to monitor police or military…

  2. Despite some folks belief in American Exceptionalism, Apple is required to follow the laws of any country they wish to do business in. No matter how we may feel about those laws and how unfair we may view them as being.

    1. Or Apple could stop being a hypocrite and pull out of China, moving operations to nations that honor human rights that Timmy supposedly reveres.

    2. Hate to sound like a broken record, but how would destroying at least half of Apple’s business and stock price help any of the victims of the Chinese government? How badly would it hurt Chinese citizens (including Hongkongers) who depend on Apple for their livelihood or who bought Apple devices with the expectation that they would have access to the App Store, iCloud, and system upgrades? How badly would it hurt American citizens who would be affected by massive Apple downsizing? Do the grandstanders who are calling for this give a flip about those consequences?

      1. Yes, I realize those REAL consequences and embrace them as I rip Tim for what I see as hypocritical compromising. That doesn’t make heeding frequently to the wishes of a dictator any less of a WTF moment (s). Yes, AAPL and, me as a stockholder–who doesn’t want to lose my stock value–are heeding to a ruthless dictatorial regime. They aren’t just saying, “you can’t wear those red pants”, their requests limit “us” giving items of freedom to freedom seeking people. “Life” could be substituted for “freedom,” and still be truthful (for some Chinese). We limit another’s freedom for “stability” in our own life?

        It’s only a stretch in timeframe and experience, but I’ll guess few would have any issues saying no to the German regime of the early/mid part of the 20th century. Parts and pieces are different, but critical essences are the same…we wouldn’t heed to them, would we?

        Freedom is costly and often arrives and stays as a result of destabilizing measures. I do see “those consequences,” but I wonder if those consequences pale greatly when on the other side of freedom, or when truly losing freedom?

        1. You should never slap a king unless you can kill him. Choosing to make a stand against tyranny when it will neither hurt the tyrant or help his victims is far worse than useless. It may foreclose the option of further actions that might actually help the victims or harm the tyrant. In this case, refusing to pull the apps will have no positive consequences, since China can simply shut down access to the App Store and/or put Apple China out of business.

          The most severe consequence of that would fall on individuals whose income directly or indirectly depends on Apple… and more of those are Chinese than American. The regime would certainly find that an acceptable trade off for eliminating a major route for Western cultural influence via the thousands of other apps that would also be eliminated. The lot of ordinary Chinese would be worse, not better. Freedom would suffer, not prosper.

          But some American politicians, who have suffered no adverse consequences because they never had a personal stake in the game, can feel self-righteous.

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