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  • Apple Appears to be Disabling its iOS News App in Mainland China


    The Cupertino California company appears to be actively blocking Chinese access to its new News app which shipped as part of iOS 9. The move is one said to be motivated by the country’s tight media rules. This particular issue was initially brought to light by the software developer, Larry Salibra, who noted that Apple disables News when roaming in mainland China. He, like many, found the policy to be “disconcerting.” Although Apple hasn’t commented on the situation, a source for The New York Times acknowledged that the News app is in fact inaccessible in China.

    As of right now, the News app can only be downloaded in the US and in test markets such as Australia and the UK. Customers who purchase an iPhone or iPad, then install News in a supported country can typically access content while traveling internationally – all except when in mainland China, where the service seems to cut off. Users in China end up facing an error message that reads the following:

    Can't refresh right now. News isn't supported in your current region.
    Salibra ended up detailing what he referred to as the “China Kill Switch” for Apple in a post on his blog. To test the theory, the developer conducted tests at a river crossing between Hong Kong and mainland China, only to find Apple blocking News access by local cellular networks. He wrote the following in his post regarding the matter:

    What worries me, is that the mechanism Apple uses to disable the News app and Apple Maps uses the location of the user to change the behavior of their device without their permission, even if the location service is disabled in the privacy settings.
    According to the folks over at The New York Times, Beijing generally tends to hold individual companies for filtering out content deemed “sensitive,” a move which means that Apple would need to apply an automated, or curated censorship system to its News aggregation service. With all being said and done, without official comment from Apple, the reasoning remains unknown.

    Source: Larry Salibra (blog), The New York Times
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Appears to be Disabling its iOS News App in Mainland China started by Akshay Masand View original post