Apple removes 'illegal' VPNs from China App Store

Screenshot of the notification ExpressVPN received from Apple about the removal of ExpressVPN's iOS app from the China App Store

Screenshot of the notification ExpressVPN received from Apple about the removal of ExpressVPN's iOS app from the China App Store

An Apple spokesman in Shanghai told Reuters that China's regulations "require cloud services be operated by Chinese companies", so Apple will not only open its data center in China but partner with a Chinese data management firm - Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co Ltd - to offer iCloud. This has led to VPN providers accuse Apple of being unnecessarily supportive of the heightened censorship regime in China.

Apple however has also stated the apps would continue to function normally in those countries and regions where local laws do not prohibit the use of VPNs.

VPN apps allow people to access websites that China blocks at an ISP level. After at least two VPN apps were removed from Apple's App Store in the country, the government claimed that VPN usage was not banned but was 'regulated'. Company president Sunday Yokubaitis said that they are "extremely disappointed" that Apple "bowed to pressure".

HTC launches the wireless Vive Standalone
Moreover, the headset is heavily-speculated to come with support provided by Google's yet-to-be-launched Android O platform. Powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor , the headset features inside-out positional tracking and doesn't need a PC to run.

The Chinese crackdown on VPNs is not particularly shocking, given the country's well-known isolation from the broader internet. Similarly, Russia introduced new legislation that will likely ban VPNs in the Russian App Store. They let users to hide their IP addresses and access online material that might be blocked by internet filters.

China is Apple's largest foreign market, so it makes financial sense for the company to stay in the Chinese government's good graces. And Chinese iOS users can still communicate with iOS users outside of China through the use of iMessage, Apple's proprietary messaging app, though research suggests iMessage is dwarfed in China by WeChat, a competing app that's grown popular due to its availability on the Android operating system. In its most recent rankings, the advocacy group Freedom House called China "the year's worst abuser of internet freedom".

With Russia announcing today it'll also ban VPNs enabling users to view banned sites, Apple could be seen as having set a precedent for giving in to repressive governments. "China is such a key market for Apple that it has to listen".

First ever genetically modified human embryos created in US
If such a genetically modified child were born, they would pass on the edited changes in their DNA to subsequent generations. The report said the three previous instances of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China .

It's too soon to say what Apple's decision on VPNs will mean for the future of its business in China, or for its policy battles elsewhere.

China is tightening its control on internet access in the country, and Apple is going along with it. It has also appointed its first managing director for the region. Meanwhile, CEO Tim Cook has taken a hard line against sharing user data with the USA government.

Tensions Rise in Jerusalem After Israel Installs Metal Detectors at Mosque
A second person, who was reportedly shot in the A-Tur area of East Jerusalem , died of his injuries at Makassed Hospital. The measure was expected to trigger more anger at the volatile site.

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