Apple Conforms To Chinese Law Pulls Apps From China App Store As Russia Signs Law Banning Their Use.
Russia has signed a law banning the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) that enable users to gain access to websites banned in Russia.
The new law was signed by President Vladimir Putin on Monday and will come into effect on November 1 st .
Leonid Levin, chairman of the Duma's committee on information policy and technology, was quoted by state-run media as saying that the new law is not intended to impose restrictions on law-abiding citizens but aims to prohibit access to “unlawful content,” RIA news agency said.
Meanwhile Apple has removed the majority of VPN apps from it’s app store in China following regulations China passed in January seeking to ban all VPN’s not approved by state regulators. Approved VPN’s must use state network infrastructure. .
The action was first reported in a blog post by VPN provider 'ExpressVPN' saying all major VPN apps for IOS including their own had been removed. Link to blog: https://www.expressvpn.com/blog/china-ios- app-store-removes-vpns/
In the blog 'ExpressVPN' wrote "We're disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China's censorship efforts.
ExpressVPN strongly condemns these measures, which threaten free speech and civil liberties." The company shared a note it had received from Apple explaining that its app was removed because "it includes content that is illegal in China".
In a statement on Sunday, an Apple spokeswoman confirmed the company will remove apps from it’s China App Store that don't comply with the law including services based outside the country.
Beijing has shut down dozens of China-based providers and it has been targeting overseas services as it bids to tighten its control over the Internet, especially ahead of the Communist Party congress in August.
While personal VPN providers have been the subject of state-led attacks in the past, this marks the first time Apple has complied with requests to scrub overseas providers from its store, a move that VPN providers say is unnecessarily supportive of China's heightened censorship regime.
Apple CEO Tim Cook defended his company’s decision to comply with China’s insistence it remove VPN software from the App Store. Amidst accusations it was “aiding Chinese censorship efforts”, Apple said it disagreed with China’s position but had to comply with the countries laws.