Jones said that Apple was under pressure to remove the new “Infowars Official” app that allows users to access news, videos, and other information posted to the site as part of Beijing’s bid to tighten its grip on the American technology giant and control its data.
The move to pressure Apple to drop Jones’ app comes as the media mogul faces censorship and banning on other platforms. Facebook has banned Infowars’ page while Apple has already removed entire libraries of Jones’ podcast content from iTunes. Spotify has also dumped Jones’ content, and Mailchimp announced – uncharacteristically – this week it would no longer permit Jones to use its email marketing platform. YouTube has also banned Infowars content, as has Pinterest.
China’s latest demand is part of a pattern begun shortly after the government granted Apple permission to begin operating in the country under strict oversight. As Reuters reported in February:
When Apple Inc begins hosting Chinese users’ iCloud accounts in a new Chinese data center at the end of this month to comply with new laws there, Chinese authorities will have far easier access to text messages, email and other data stored in the cloud.
That’s because of a change to how the company handles the cryptographic keys needed to unlock an iCloud account. Until now, such keys have always been stored in the United States, meaning that any government or law enforcement authority seeking access to a Chinese iCloud account needed to go through the U.S. legal system.
That’s no longer the case. Reuters noted that as part of the deal Apple had to store the keys for Chinese iCloud accounts in China proper, thereby alleviating the need for Chinese authoritarians to go through the U.S. legal system, relying instead on their own. Now, Chinese authorities can demand user data from Apple directly.
The arrangement touched off new fears among human rights advocates that the communist government will use the data to track down and imprison dissidents and jail them. It’s happened before: A decade ago, Chinese government authorities sought and received user data from Yahoo Inc., which resulted in “arrests and prison sentences for two democracy advocates,” Reuters reported.
Lamely, Apple said that while it adheres to its core ‘values,’ surrendering them at the drop of a hat just to secure a business deal is just the way it is. (Related: Facebook blocks video ad that criticizes communism.)
“While we advocated against iCloud being subject to these laws, we were ultimately unsuccessful,” the company said in a statement. Reuters reported that Apple executives decided the better option was to give Chinese authorities carte blanche access to iCloud data.
Jones, in his broadcast, noted that authoritarianism has spread in the form of censorship demands as China’s influence has grown throughout the American technology companies including Google. In fact, he pointed out, new evidence of Beijing’s influence over the tech behemoth emerged this week in a CNBC report.
The network’s online news service quoted a Chinese state media source – People’s Daily– as warning that Apple benefits from “cheap labor and a strong supply chain” in the Asian country and that as such it should “share more of its profit with the Chinese people or face ‘anger and nationalist sentiment’ amid the ongoing trade war.”
The People’s Daily article noted: “China is by far the most important overseas market for the U.S.-based Apple, leaving it exposed if Chinese people make it a target of anger and nationalist sentiment.”
Wrapping it all up, Jones said that Chinese pressure on Apple, along with the banning of conservatives from the largest social media platforms, is all tied to the 2018 elections and beyond, as a way to stifle all information but liberal groupthink.
Read more about Chinese influence operations at NationalSecurity.news.