Apple pulls VPN apps from China's App Store over new government rules

China's Struggle for a Free Internet Worsens as Apple Removes VPN Apps from its Store

On Saturday, Apple pulled the rug out from under Chinese iPhone users' feet, by taking down VPN apps from the App Store. Three VPN providers confirmed removal, and Apple provided a statement that said that regulations put in place in January were the cause.

Developers of VPNs aren't just anxious about their ban in China only since Russian Federation, meanwhile, has also made a decision to get all VPN and proxy servers blocked, according to the law documented and signed by the President Vladimir Putin.

Apple faces more competition in China because consumers rely more heavily on apps available across multiple mobile platforms instead of OS-provided apps and infrastructure.

China's VPN crackdown has been relentless in recent months and in a new twist VPN apps are now being removed from the Apple app store for Chinese users. And its Apple that has found itself at the receiving end of the changed circumstances given that it has been forced to remove those apps from its official Chinese app store that rely on VPNs.

President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill that prohibits services, including virtual private networks (VPNs), that enable users to skirt government censorship efforts.

The new law signed on July 31, 2017, by the #Russian president goes into full effect on November 1 of this year as well. VPN services allow Chinese citizens to bypass government's restrictions on internet usage and access uncensored websites and content. This also helps them in remaining hidden from internet service providers.

Another victim of Apple's act is ExpressVPN which is a service provider from outside China.

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Social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are blocked by Beijing.

Now, 33 years after the year of 1984, are we going to see 2017 become a bit more like 1984 - with Apple's assistance?

Ms. Wang, who said that Sinnet handles Amazon Web Services operations across China, said that the company has sent letters warning users about such services in the past but that the government had been more focused on other issues.

Apple's growth in smartphones is highly linked to the Chinese market.

"It may actually be a better business decision for [Apple] to have held the line and shown the moral high ground for the rest of the world, which are the buyers of most of their iPhones", said Stuart Madnick, Professor of Information Technologies at MIT Sloan School of Management, in an interview with TheWrap.

China is Apple's largest market outside the United States. China is one of leading countries where freedom of speech is controlled by the authoritarian regime. Meanwhile, CEO Tim Cook has taken a hard line against sharing user data with the U.S. government.

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