Apple To Block Feature In China As They Join Forces With The CCP

( )- Apple’s latest software update in China restricted the ability of iPhone users to share files over AirDrop, a feature that some dissidents have used to spread anti-government materials.

AirDrop, allows users to send and receive files using Bluetooth and wifi. In the settings of AirDrop, users can limit the feature to contacts only or receive files from “everyone” for an indefinite time.

However, the security update released in China last week changed the final option from an indefinite time to only ten minutes. After that, AirDrop automatically reverts to contacts only.

After the security update, iPhone users in China who might have received files from non-contacts would now have to manually turn the feature back to “everyone” every ten minutes, making it harder for others to anonymously share protest material.

The update appeared to only affect iPhone models specifically purchased in mainland China.

AirDrop has been used in Hong Kong to covertly share protest materials. In China, it had become one of the few methods to circumvent censorship in China’s heavily-regulated information environment.

In recent weeks, Chinese dissidents began using AirDrop to share digital posters containing slogans from the October 13 Sitong Bridge protest in Beijing.

Throughout China’s internet, any information about the protest has vanished. But the slogans used by protesters were picked up by Chinese living overseas as part of a movement to denounce Xi Jinping’s grip on power and his Zero COVID policy and then shared via AirDrop.

While Apple didn’t directly deny the change was at the behest of the Chinese government, in a statement to Gurman, the company did say it planned to roll out the same change “globally in the coming year” as a way to “mitigate unwanted file sharing.”

However, Yaqiu Wang, a senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch, said Apple has a history of “conceding” to the demands of Chinese authorities on censorship and surveillance and the company must be “transparent” about why this update to AirDrop was only made in China.