Citizen Lab, a Canadian research institute, recently found that Apple has removed all engraving services from the Chinese app store following a request by Chinese authorities. They describe this as a “censorship-for-engraving services” (sound like a good idea to you or not?).
With its newest MacBook Pro, Apple has given millions of Chinese government workers the opportunity to have their names engraved on the notebook. However, the owners of the Apple notebook can’t use it to print out their names. Because of a bug in the Chinese printer app, users can’t print their names on their own Apple computers.
Apple’s App Store has censored a Canadian company from selling its line of personalized engraving software in China. Citizen Lab and other groups have called for an investigation into Apple’s role in the censorship, which Citizen Lab calls “the perfect censorship tool.”
NEWS IN TECH – According to a source, Apple is limiting references to Chinese officials, dissidents, and other subjects in its engraving service in all Chinese regions.
Customers that wanted anything etched on their new iPhone, iPad, or other Apple gadget may use the filters put up by Citizen Lab. Not just in mainland China, but also in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Apple had a long list of terms that were banned.
Apple claims that its technologies “ensure local laws and traditions are respected.” Our engraving process, like everything else at Apple, is governed by these principles,” Jane Horvath, Apple’s chief privacy officer, said in a letter to CitizenLab before the report’s publication.
She claims that the engraving service has tried to ban copyrighted words as well as those that are “vulgar or culturally inappropriate, might be interpreted as encouragement to violence, or would be unlawful under local laws, rules, and regulations.”
Apple, on the other hand, is accused by CitizenLab of “carelessly and inconsistently generating curated keyword lists.”
Words that are racist or sexual in nature, as well as other phrases that might be categorized elsewhere
There has been prior study on Chinese control of the Apple App Store, according to CitizenLab, a research organization at the University of Toronto renowned for its work on technology and human rights. However, they claimed that there have only been anecdotal instances of the carvings being refused thus far. Its latest study discovered over 1,100 censored terms in six different locations, the majority of which were linked to objectionable material including racial or sexually explicit phrases.
They claimed, however, that the regulations were being enforced inconsistently and far more broadly in China. “Within China, we discovered that Apple censors political content, including broad references to the Chinese leadership and political system, names of dissidents and independent news organizations, and general language related to religions, democracy, and human rights,” according to the report, which also claims that the censorship “spills over” into Hong Kong and Taiwan.
These were discovered:
- In mainland China, 1045 terms have been banned.
- There are 542 people in Hong Kong.
- Taiwan has 397 people.
In Japan, Canada, and the United States, however, just 170 to 260 terms were filtered out.
Terms from the past
Terms like “umbrella revolution,” “pro-democracy movement,” and “press freedom,” as well as the identities of certain political dissidents, were also banned in Hong Kong. Leading members of the Chinese Communist Party, including historical luminaries like President Mao Zedong, are said to have been screened out of Taiwan.
Hong Kong is a Chinese Special Administrative Region, or SAR, that was formerly a British colony but is now governed by certain principles and enjoys a high level of autonomy. Taiwan, on the other hand, is self-governing, but Beijing regards it as a separatist province that will one day rejoin mainland China.
The study stated, “Much of the filtering goes beyond Apple’s legal responsibilities in Hong Kong, and we are unaware of any legal basis for political restriction of Taiwanese material.”
Furthermore, the study discovered errors, such as the censoring of ten people with the surname Zheng, a limitation that seems to have no political relevance. “In our opinion, Apple does not completely comprehend the material it is censoring,” CitizenLab stated.
“Rather than being the result of careful deliberation, each of the banned phrases seems to have been thoughtlessly stolen from other sources,” according to the statement, which includes a list of keywords presumably used to censor the goods of a Chinese business.
Ms Horvath responded by saying that Apple’s regulations are region-specific and that “no third parties or government authorities were engaged in the process.”
“This is not at all an automatic process; we depend only on human curation. However, it is possible that engraving requests may be incorrectly denied as a consequence of this. When this occurs, however, we have a particular process that we evaluate and correct.” – (We just have one question: who are the “curators” that Apple alludes to? – ed.)
BBC News is the source of this information.
Apple has been widely criticized for its treatment of engraving services who provide designs for iPhone cases and similar accessories. Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity-focused research group at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, published a letter in the Guardian recently claiming that the company was attempting to block access to its site.. Read more about apple censors engraving service report claims and let us know what you think.
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