4 Republican lawmakers accuse Apple of being ‘a pawn in China’s malfeasance’ over customer data in a letter to CEO Tim Cook

4 Republican lawmakers accuse Apple of being 'a pawn in China's malfeasance' over customer data in a letter to CEO Tim Cook

Anna Cooban

·2 min read
Tim Cook
Tim Cook   Photo by Roy Rochlin:WireImage
 
Apple CEO Tim Cook Roy Rochlin / WireImage
  • Four Republican lawmakers have called on Apple CEO Tim Cook to reassess his dealings with China.

  • They said Apple’s customers in China had “zero protections” from government use of their data.

  • They criticized what they called Apple’s “gradual and near-total capitulation” to Beijing over customer data.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Four US House Representatives have criticized what they call Apple’s “gradual and near-total capitulation” to China over access to its customer’s data, and called on CEO Tim Cook to reassess Apple’s business dealings with the country.

Republicans Ken Buck, Scott Fitzgerald, Burgess Owens, and Dan Bishop said that Apple “continues to concede to the Chinese government’s demands,” in a letter to Cook sent on Thursday, and later shared on Twitter.

New York Times investigation published Monday said that Cook had approved the use of servers owned by Chinese state-owned companies to store user data, and had agreed to remove encryption technology from Apple’s data server centers, according to current and former Apple employees who spoke to the publication.

Apple also agreed to censor about 50,000 apps from its App Store, and company employees were tasked with identifying apps that might offend the Chinese government, according to the paper’s sources.

The congressmen said that the company “has entwined itself with the very rights abuses it claims to oppose.”

“We urge you to consider Apple’s position as a pawn in China’s malfeasance,” the letter said.

When contacted for comment, Apple pointed Insider to a statement it made to the NYT responding to its investigation.

The tech giant said that it has “never compromised the security of our users or their data in China or anywhere we operate,” in the statement.

“We retain control of the encryption keys for our users’ data,” the company said in the statement. “Since our Chinese data centers are our newest, they feature our very latest and most sophisticated protections.”

Apple said that it had removed apps from its App Store to abide by China’s laws.

“These decisions are not always easy, and we may not agree with the laws that shape them,” it said in the statement.

Read the original article on Business Insider