Apple defends complying with China over VPNs

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"Banning the "unauthorized" use of basic Internet security tools makes Russian Federation both less safe and less free", Snowden, who continues to reside in Russian Federation, wrote on his Twitter feed. This act will come into existence from November 1st, 2017.

"We would obviously rather not remove the apps, but like we do in other countries, we follow the law wherever we do business", Cook said.

Unlike in Russia, VPNs are still available in China but they require a license from the government.

Amazon did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment outside of USA business hours, but the firm told the Wall Street Journal that Sinnet was "responsible for ensuring that its customers in China comply with local laws".

Chinese operator, Beijing Sinnet Technology, has told its local customers on Tuesday to stop using illegal virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass China's internet censorship.

Chinese internet enthusiasts have been faced with massive restrictions on many web based activities, such as Twitter and Facebook. Speaking to AFP on Sunday, Apple said that it had been ordered to take off some VPN apps in China which fail to meet the recent regulations.

"Preventing unauthorized access to existing data and accounts is paramount", he advised. "Policies on digital security should be developed, in coordination with technical as well as legal experts, and staff should be trained in best practices".

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Besides, Krivosheev connected the adoption of the law with a position of Apple, which chose to delete the main VPN applications from the local version of the App Store. In a blog post, the company called Apple's decision "surprising and unfortunate".

Apple on Monday removed dozens of VPN apps and sparked outrage among free speech and digital rights advocates, who say the Chinese use VPNs to get around their government's stringent online censorship rules.

The move was first reported by VPN provider ExpressVPN, just one of the providers who no longer have their software listed on the mainland App Store.

Cook added Apple is hopeful that the restrictions are loosened over time, "because innovation really requires freedom to collaborate and communicate, and I know that that is a major focus there". "When it comes to their App Store, Apple is the judge, jury and executor, and now it appears the Chinese government is Apple's overlord".

"If we discover (clients using unapproved VPNs), we will shut down services", the agency quoted the employee as saying. "That doesn't mean that we don't state our point of view in the appropriate way".

While Apple's revenues grew double-digits compared to previous year in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, it saw a 10 percent decline in Greater China, which includes China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

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