Apple disables access to News app in China
Apple disables access to News app in China Larry Salibra

Apple has shut down its Apple News Service in China without prior consent from its users, surrendering to communist China’s demands to censor news Beijing deems unacceptable.

Apple has so far refused to comment on the surprising censorship first exposed by software developer Larry Salibra and reported later on by The New York Times, which said Apple confirmed the censorship off the record.

This shutdown was independently verified later on by users of Apple devices. reported Apple is actively censoring its News app shipped as part of iOS 9 when users inside China try to access the app.

Instead of reading news, app users are faced with a message saying either “Can’t refresh right now. News isn’t supported in your current region” or "News isn’t supported in your current region". The censorship also affects news downloaded before a user enters China.

Experts said China was apparently exploiting the geolocation service present in all iOS devices to assist local Chinese cellular providers block access to Apple’s News app. The censorship only prevents access to Apple News within China.

The News app is active in the United States and in Australia and the UK where it’s being tested.

"What worries me is that the mechanism Apple uses to disable the News app and Apple Maps uses the location of the user to change the behavior of their device without their permission, even if the location service is disabled in the privacy settings," wrote Salibra on his blog.

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