Apple’s China App Store just disappeared all VPN apps, report says

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In a move sure to give Apple’s ongoing activities in China under a most intense international microscope, a number of foreign-made VPN software apps have been removed from China’s app store, according to each of these reports from The New York Times .

The report quotes several VPN manufacturers, including ExpressVPN and Star VPN, after the two companies posted public contents revealing that Apple sent them letters advising them of their removal from the China app store.

“We received notification from Apple today, July 29, 2017, at approximately 04:00 GMT, that the ExpressVPN iOS app was removed from the China App Store, ” stated ExpressVPN on the following website. “Our preliminary study indicates that all major VPN apps for iOS have been removed.”

Part of the notification meaning from Apple, captured and posted in screenshots from the company, territory: “We are writing to notify you that your application will be removed from the China App Store because it includes content that is illegal in China, which is not in compliance with the Apple Store Review Guidelines.”

However, that message noted that the ExpresVPN’s app is still available in other Apple App Store territories.

“Were disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic weigh the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple facilitating Chinas censorship tries, ” the letter from ExpressVPN sustained. “ExpressVPN strongly condemns these measures, which peril free speech and civil liberties.”

When contacted by The New York Times , the paper reports, “An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment about the removals.”

But in a statement eventually provided to Mashable , an Apple spokesperson offered point of clarification. “Earlier this year China’s MIIT[ Ministry of Industry and Information Technology] announced that all developers offering VPNs must obtain a license from the government, ” said the spokesperson. “We have been required to remove some VPN apps in China that do not convene the new regulations. These apps remain available in all other groceries where they do business.”

The policy mentioned by Apple appears to refer to the repression by Chinese authorities in January that required VPN’s to obtain “prior government approval, ” according to the South China Morning Post. As that report observed, the policy would make most VPNs in use in the country unauthorized. The move to actively enforce the policy is slated to continue until March 2018, according to the paper.

The frequent practise of controlling the flow of internet knowledge in China by the government has led to the nickname of the Great Firewall regarding the Chinese government’s censorship programmes. Apple’s move to adhere to the government’s VPN policy may seem unique, but it’s appears to be the cost of doing business in China, and it’s just another in a long trail of internet censoring efforts regularly enforced by the Chinese government.

Nevertheless, this particular crackdown represents a major alteration that will impact the biggest iOS app sell on the planet , not just to its implementation of marketings, but for privacy as well.

* This tale has been updated to include the comments from Apple and the policy referenced in those observations .

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