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Protocol | China

Apple China is censoring 27 LGBTQ+ apps, report shows

But Apple says it didn't remove the apps.

Apple China is censoring 27 LGBTQ+ apps, report shows

Only Saudi Arabia has more LGBTQ+ apps unavailable in that country's App Store, according to the report.

Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Apple's App Store in China has removed 27 LGBTQ+-related apps, either to meet the demand of the Chinese government or in a preemptive manner, a new report shows.

Research by the U.S.-based Fight for the Future, an advocacy group for digital rights, and China-based GreatFire, a nonprofit organization that tracks censorship in China, shows that only Saudi Arabia has more LGBTQ+ apps unavailable in their App Store.

According to the two groups' jointly-published report on Monday, the App Store enables government censorship of LGBTQ+ apps in 152 countries, in stark contrast to Apple's pro-LGBTQ+ efforts in the U.S.

Benjamin Ismail, GreatFire's campaign and advocacy director and Apple Censorship project coordinator, told Protocol that even though China is known for widespread and pervasive censorship, it's surprising that the country bans more LGBTQ+-related apps on the App Store than countries that criminalize homosexuality.

"It is our assumption that Apple's position in different countries varies and that the company feels more comfortable to ignore/refuse/delay some governments' requests than others," Ismail said.

An app being unavailable in one country doesn't necessarily mean that Apple censored it, however; it could also be because the developer decided not to make it available in that country. Ismail explained that their research didn't count some apps that were removed by their developers, and added that "the highest probability is that it was Apple [that] decided to remove the app."

"The few developers that talked to us told us that when they learned the app was not available, they didn't try to discuss it with Apple, thinking it would not change anything," Ismail said.

"We know some assume Apple is just 'complying with local laws' even though they never refer to the law they are complying with," Ismail added. "Some developers told us they didn't put their app in China, fearing it would cause trouble (and possibly get the entire app in trouble, including in other countries)."

An Apple spokesperson, however, told Protocol that Apple didn't remove the LGBTQ+ apps cited in the report as being unavailable in China. The spokesperson added that app owners often consciously make decisions not to make their app available in certain countries.

Update: This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. PT to include Apple's statement.

Protocol | Enterprise

How Google Cloud plans to kill its ‘Killed By Google’ reputation

Under the new Google Enterprise APIs policy, the company is making a promise that its services will remain available and stable far into the future.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has promised to make the company more customer-friendly.

Photo: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images 2019

Google Cloud issued a promise Monday to current and potential customers that it's safe to build a business around its core technologies, another step in its transformation from an engineering playground to a true enterprise tech vendor.

Starting Monday, Google will designate a subset of APIs across the company as Google Enterprise APIs, including APIs from Google Cloud, Google Workspace and Google Maps. APIs selected for this category — which will include "a majority" of Google Cloud APIs according to Kripa Krishnan, vice president at Google Cloud — will be subject to strict guidelines regarding any changes that could affect customer software built around those APIs.

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Tom Krazit

Tom Krazit ( @tomkrazit) is Protocol's enterprise editor, covering cloud computing and enterprise technology out of the Pacific Northwest. He has written and edited stories about the technology industry for almost two decades for publications such as IDG, CNET, paidContent, and GeekWire, and served as executive editor of Gigaom and Structure.

Over the last year, financial institutions have experienced unprecedented demand from their customers for exposure to cryptocurrency, and we've seen an inflow of institutional dollars driving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to record prices. Some banks have already launched cryptocurrency programs, but many more are evaluating the market.

That's why we've created the Crypto Maturity Model: an iterative roadmap for cryptocurrency product rollout, enabling financial institutions to evaluate market opportunities while addressing compliance requirements.

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Caitlin Barnett, Chainanalysis
Caitlin’s legal and compliance experience encompasses both cryptocurrency and traditional finance. As Director of Regulation and Compliance at Chainalysis, she helps leading financial institutions strategize and build compliance programs in order to adopt cryptocurrencies and offer new products to their customers. In addition, Caitlin helps facilitate dialogue with regulators and the industry on key policy issues within the cryptocurrency industry.

Amazon job opening points to plan to accept crypto payments

The news sparked a rally in the values of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Amazon may be planning to let customers pay for orders with cryptocurrencies.

Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Amazon is looking to hire a digital currency and blockchain expert suggesting a plan to let customers accept cryptocurrencies as payments.

The tech giant's job opening says Amazon is looking for "an experienced product leader" to help develop the company's "digital currency and blockchain strategy and roadmap" Amazon is looking for product leader with expertise in blockchain, distributed ledger, central bank digital currencies and cryptocurrency.

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

Protocol | Policy

Big Tech tried to redefine terrorism online. It got messy fast.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism announced a series of narrow steps it's taking that underscore just how fraught the job of classifying terror online really is.

Erin Saltman is GIFCT's director of programming.

Photo: Paul Morigi/Flickr

A little over a month after the Jan. 6 riot, the tech industry's leading anti-terrorism alliance — a group founded by Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft and Twitter — announced it was seeking ideas for how it could expand its definition of terrorism, which had for years been more or less synonymous with Islamic terrorism. The group, called the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism or GIFCT, had been considering such a shift for at least a year, but the rising threat of domestic extremism, punctuated by the Capitol uprising, made it all the more clear something needed to change.

But after months of interviewing member companies, months of considering academic proposals and months spent mulling the impact of tech platforms on this and other violent events around the world, the group's policies have barely budged. On Monday, in a 177-page report, GIFCT released the first details of its plan, and, well, a radical rethinking of online extremism it is not. Instead, the report lays out a series of narrow steps that underscore just how fraught the job of classifying terror online really is.

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Issie Lapowsky

Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

Protocol | Workplace

A Black tech exec’s 10-year journey to fight racism in Silicon Valley

Wayne Sutton, founder of The Icon Project, was an early adopter in the fight to make Silicon Valley more diverse. The racism and bias he's experienced along his journey has helped him find his calling.

Wayne Sutton, founder and CEO of The Icon Project, has spent over a decade in Silicon Valley to get to this moment.

Photo: Wayne Sutton

When CEO and entrepreneur Wayne Sutton decided to pursue his own venture fund to support Black founders in 2014, he struggled to attract limited partners. They would often ask, "Where are you going to find those entrepreneurs?"

That's because the common "wisdom" in Silicon Valley was that there simply weren't enough Black founders with viable businesses to fund, Sutton told Protocol.

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Megan Rose Dickey
Megan Rose Dickey is a senior reporter at Protocol covering labor and diversity in tech. Prior to joining Protocol, she was a senior reporter at TechCrunch and a reporter at Business Insider.
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