Apple has published a new human rights policy, committing to the freedom of information and expression. The publishing of this policy comes after pressure and criticism from shareholders increased over the company’s willingness to meet with China’s demands.
Over recent years, Apple has faced public scrutiny and internal criticism from shareholders for its decisions to pull certain apps from the App Store in China. In February, during its annual shareholder meeting, a proposal was brought to the table, asking Apple to publically commit “to respect freedom of expression as a human right”. Now, according to Gadget 360, Apple has responded to the pressure by publishing a new human rights policy.
Although the initial proposal was ultimately defeated, Apple published the human rights policy ahead of its next annual shareholder meeting. The four-page document details Apple’s commitment and how “respect for human rights begins with our commitment to treating everyone with dignity and respect”.
Additionally, the document goes on to read: “We believe in the critical importance of an open society in which information flows freely, and we’re convinced the best way we can continue to promote openness is to remain engaged, even where we may disagree with a country’s laws.”
“Our Board of Directors has adopted this policy on behalf of Apple and is responsible for overseeing and periodically reviewing the policy. Apple’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel oversees the implementation of our policy and reports to the Board and its committees on our progress and significant issues,” the document continues.
In the past, Apple met with the demands of the Beijing government to pull certain apps from its App Store. Many VPN apps have been pulled in China due to local regulations. Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, etc. have also been affected by this relationship.