Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are reportedly concerned that Apple “may be enabling the Chinese government’s censorship and surveillance.”
“VPNs allows users to access the uncensored internet in China and other countries that restrict internet freedom,” the two senators declared. “If these reports are true, we are concerned that Apple may be enabling the Chinese government’s censorship and surveillance of the internet.”
Cruz and Leahy then referenced the fact that Cook received the Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award earlier this year, before pointing out the hypocrisy.
“Earlier this year you received the Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award, which recognizes those who exhibit passion for and dedication to free expression,” they continued. “In your acceptance speech, you stated: ‘First we defend, we work to defend these freedoms by enabling people around the world to speak up. And second, we do it by speaking up ourselves. Because companies can, and should have values… At Apple we are not just enabling others to speak up, we are also doing it ourselves.'”
“While Apple’s many contributions to the global exchange of information are admirable, removing VPN apps that allow individuals in China to evade the Great Firewall and access the Internet privately does not enable people in China to ‘speak up,'” Cruz and Leahy proclaimed. “To the contrary, if Apple complies with such demands from the Chinese government it inhibits free expression for users across China, particularly in light of the Cyberspace Administration of China’s new regulations targeting online anonymity.”
In their letter, the two senators also referenced other times that Apple has seemingly acted against free expression, before ending it with, “We look forward to your response.”