Why Apple’s China Policy May Undermine Tim Cook’s ‘Moral Responsibility’ Stance

·1-min read

Apple has positioned itself as Big Tech’s moral compass the last few years, at least based on high-profile advertising campaigns and the public comments of CEO Tim Cook. “I think we have a moral responsibility to help grow the economy, to help grow jobs, to contribute to this country and to contribute to the other countries that we do business in,” Cook said in 2017. Don’t buy it, a growing band of critics are saying. To do big business in China, “you’re going to have to kowtow” to the Communist-led regime there, explained Matt Bilinksy, a tech and media-focused attorney at Weinberg Gonser LLP in Los Angeles. “There’s no room for compromise. To access that market, you’re playing by the rules of the Chinese Communist Party, and there’s zero space to deviate.” Apple’s commitment to “moral responsibility” drew a harsh spotlight after The New York Times reported that Cook approved “aggressively” censoring apps that China’s communist government disapproved of. The report also said the company has been storing the personal data of its Chinese customers on computer servers run by a government-owned Chinese firm. That’s a concerning arrangement. This is the same government that, under the leadership of Xi Jinping,...

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