Apple censored anti-Chinese sentiment in product engravings: Study

Apple proactively censors to stay Chineseaccording to good grace Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto.

The group discovered that the American company restricted speech against the Chinese Communist Party ideology in its ” that it submitted abroad, and in some cases where foreign law did not require censorship.

Citizen Labresearch reveals Applethe desire to avoid the value of American freedom of expression when dealing with authoritarian regimes that control access to major markets.

Apple It allows its customers to scrape products like iPads and AirPods with words and emojis, but the found that the company filters out certain messages. Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

For example, Apple “Freedom of the press” docked with Chinese phrases for “Vuhan pneumonia” and the names of media outlets critical of the Chinese Communist Party such as “Voice of America”. Citizen Lab.

“in the mainland Chinese, we found it Apple Censor political content, including broad references to Chinese leadership Chinese‘ the political system, the names of dissidents, independent news organizations and general terms relating to democracy and human rights,’ he said. Citizen LabJeffrey Knockel and Lotus Ruan.

But it wasn’t just the People’s Republic.

“Moreover, we’ve seen much of this political censorship seep into both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Some censorship transcends. Apple“We are not aware of any legal justification for the legal obligations in Hong Kong and the political censorship of content in Taiwan,” wrote Mr. Knockel and Ms. Ruan.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment, but Citizen Lab said he found evidence Apple It may not understand what content it is filtering in Chinese language regions.

The tech giant seems to have censored Chinese keywords based on how others are doing it. Citizen Lab.

Jane Horvath, Apple chief privacy officer said Citizen Lab that the company seeks to reject requests that may be rude and culturally insensitive, incite violence, or be considered illegal, among other things.

In a letter published by Citizen Labsaid Mrs Horvath Apple it largely relies on manual editing of engraving requests, not on automated processing.

“We handle engraving requests regionally. There is no single global list containing a set of words or phrases,” Ms Horvath wrote. “Instead, these decisions are made through a review process in which our teams evaluate local laws and cultural sensitivities. We review these decisions from time to time. While these teams relied on information from a range of sources, no third party or government agency was involved in the process.”

to explore the scope Applealleged censorship, Citizen Lab analyzed 505,902 keywords censored in a wide variety of Chinese apps and discovered 1,105 “keyword filtering rules.” Apple uses to scan the contents of product engravings Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Canada and USA

Citizen Lab said Apple it sometimes restricts expressions in the US in accordance with the rules governing flashy driver’s license plates, but still allows offensive expressions such as “Nazi” and “Slanteye”, which it restricts in Canada.

almost a fifth Apple‘s total revenue comes from the mainland Chinese, according to this Citizen Labforecast and AppleThe communist regime’s subordination to its interests does not appear to be limited to product engravings.

Apple Censored the Taiwan flag emoji for those using the OS while their device’s region is set to Hong Kong, Macau or the mainland Chinese, according to this Citizen Lab.

In 2019, Apple Music has removed a song by a Hong Kong singer from its streaming service. ChineseViolent repression in Tiananmen Square in 1989, according to the Hong Kong Free Press, an English-language newspaper.

Apple It’s not alone among tech companies changing their practices to do business. Chinese.

Citizen Lab previously analyzed Microsoft’s Skype telecommunications application and Citizen Lab‘s researchers said they’ve found keyword filtering features that target mainland Chinese users.

“The most worrying thing based on our current findings is the lack of transparency. Apple“The unexplained spread of content moderation policies and politically motivated moderation rules from one region to another,” he wrote. Citizen Lab on its website. “However, as all companies face pressure from governments, they have no choice but to blindly comply with that government’s requirements.”

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