Apple Pulls Anti-Censorship App from China’s iOS App Store
For the second time in the past three months, Apple has been in the lime light for its decision to remove an app designed to circumvent internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China. The app which was called FreeWeibo, bypasses government restrictions on the Twitter-like Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo and was pulled from the App Store according to a recent report from Agence France-Presse. The app’s developer told AFP that they believe the Chinese government ordered the takedown.
The FreeWeibo app, which was developed in cooperation with Radio Netherlands, offers “uncensored and anonymous Sina Weibo search” and ignores “relevant laws, legislation and policy,” according to the service’s website. A FreeWeibo representative told AFP that Apple’s App Review Board informed the developers the app was removed “because it goes against local laws.” Apple has historically sided with caution when dealing with apps that may run afoul of local legislation, especially in China.
Previously, in October, Apple removed an app called Open Door that allowed iOS device users to bypass internet firewalls, including the so-called “Great Firewall of China.” This app was another that allowed Chinese users to access books banned by the Chinese central government.
As many of you probably already know, the Chinese market is an increasingly important one for Apple, even as controversy swirls around the company’s App Store policies and the labor practices of its Chinese suppliers. Apple books roughly $5 billion in revenue from China each quarter and is said to be nearing an agreement to bring the iPhone to China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier, in a deal that some analysts believe could add as much as $10 billion to Apple’s bottom line each year.
Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)