What it is: Apple recently removed VPN (virtual private network) apps from the Mac App Store in China.
It’s no surprise that countries around then world censor information. While the Pentagon keeps reporters away from showing anything but approved videos and pictures, countries like China seek to limit what its citizens can find and read on the Internet. To circumvent China’s Great Firewall, many people have been using VPN software, which lets you connect to a server in another country and then from that server, brows the Internet. This fools firewalls from blocking access because technically you’re only accessing a server, not a banned site like Twitter or YouTube.
Unfortunately, Apple removed VPN apps from the Mac App Store because China’s government complained that it made it too easy for its citizens to circumvent the Great Firewall of China. Since Apple builds products in China and sells tons of iPhones in that country, there’s little Apple could do but follow Chinese laws.
http://www.topbananas.com/wp-admin/post-new.php#What if Apple defied China? Then they would lose access to one of the most lucrative markets in the world as well as losing access to its manufacturing base. It’s a no-win situation for Apple. Either they follow China’s laws or they don’t and suffer tremendous consequences that would essentially shut down most of their business. So what can Apple do besides openly defy China?
First, they can continue putting encryption in all of their products so at least people can protect their data. Second, they can actively lobby China’s government to remove this VPN restriction so they could eventually put VPN software back on the Mac App Store.
There is no good solution. China’s government has the advantage and as long as Apple needs China’s market and their manufacturing base, they have little choice but to comply. That means third-parties, who have no dependence on China, must actively spread VPN software throughout China. Probably the simplest way to do this is to put VPN software on servers around the world to allow Chinese citizens to find the VPN software. The more copies of VPN software spread throughout China, the less likely the Chinese government could possibly find and delete them all.
The huge problem with the world is that every country makes laws that restricts freedom in some way, depending on your point of view. From the Middle East restricting women’s freedoms to China blocking information on the Internet, to North Korea limiting Internet access altogether, the world is an uncertain and scary place. The only sure thing is that people can and will be resourceful so any ban can be overcome with enough creativity and persistence. The real problem is never oppressive laws but the will of people. Once people no longer want to circumvent unjust laws, then the oppressive governments will finally have won.