Apple’s board of directors has approved a “human rights” policy and quietly published it ahead of a September 5th deadline for shareholders to submit motions for next year’s investor meeting. Apple does not mention China, but its stench pervades the document thoroughly.
The four-page document [PDF], cited here for the first time, tries to walk a fine line between upholding human rights while conceding that Apple is “required to comply with local laws” in authoritarian countries.
The document said Apple is “committed to respecting the human rights of everyone whose lives we touch — including our employees, suppliers, contractors and customers.”
Its approach is based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. But it does not mention any particular country, nor does it refer to high-profile dilemmas like what to do when China, the world’s largest smartphone market, asks it to ban apps that help users evade censorship and surveillance. The Apple policy merely states: “Where national law and international human rights standards differ, we follow the higher standard. Where they are in conflict, we respect national law while seeking to respect the principles of internationally recognised human rights.”
MacDailyNews Take: In a nutshell: We’d love to do more, but money’s involved, so we cede to despots.
Apple’s full policy document is here.