Vastavam web: Apple Inc says it is removing virtual private network (VPN) services from its app store in China, drawing criticism from VPN service providers, who accuse the U.S. tech giant of bowing to pressure from Beijing cyber regulators.VPNs allow users to bypass China’s so-called “Great Firewall” aimed at restricting access to overseas sites.In a statement on Sunday, an Apple spokeswoman confirmed it will remove apps that don’t comply with the law from its China App Store, including services based outside the country.
Beijing has shut down dozens of China-based providers and it has been targeting overseas services as it bids to tighten its control over the internet, especially ahead of the Communist Party congress in August.”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,” ExpressVPN said in a statement.
Other major providers, including VyprVPN and StarVPN, confirmed they also received the notice on Saturday from Apple.Yokubaitis said Golden Frog will file an appeal to Apple over the ban.China users with billing addresses in other countries will still be able to access VPN apps from other branches of the App Store. A number of VPN apps were still accessible on the China App store on Saturday.VPN providers say that while the apps are not available on the store, users are still able to manually install them using VPN support built into Apple’s operating system.”We are extremely disappointed that Apple has bowed to pressure,” said Yokubaitis. “(It’s been a) disappointing morning but we will fight on.”