In a controversial move, Apple has removed apps with virtual private network (VPN) capabilities from its App Store in China. Within China, citizens have access only to filtered Internet content, but foreign VPNs allow residents to circumvent the Communist country’s censorship laws. The Chinese government recently began requiring VPN operators to obtain a government license.
In its official statement on the subject, Apple said, “We have been required to remove some VPN apps in China that do not meet the new regulations. These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.”
ExpressVPN, one of the mobile development firms that had a VPN app removed from the App Store, wrote, “We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts.”