Chinese authorities force Apple to pull Skype from App Store

Apple was forced to remove Skype from the iOS App Store in China to comply with the local laws in the country. The move was confirmed by Microsoft which said that Skype was “temporarily removed” from the App Store.

Chinese authorities force Apple to pull Skype from App Store
“We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “Therefore these apps have been removed from the App Store in China.”

Microsoft says it is “working to reinstate the app as soon as possible.”

The paper notes that Skype’s removal from app stores is the most recent example of “a decades-long push by China’s government to control and monitor the flow of information online.” The government typically blocks any apps and services that use end-to-end encryption or don’t comply with its rules on identifying accounts by the full names of their users.

Skype has not yet been outright banned—it currently continues to operate in the country—but it’s unclear for how long. The government’s Great Firewall of China previously blocked access to messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, as well as other popular services such as Gmail and Twitter.

Since the beginning of this year, Apple has had to remove a number of apps from the Chinese App Store — including all VPN apps —  to comply with local laws. In addition, the local Chinese laws have led to a disruption in service for WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. The Cupertino company is also in the process of opening a data centre in Chian to comply with the local laws. Since the new Chinese local laws have come into effect, the government has cracked down on messaging apps and services featuring end-to-end encryption. It has also removed or banned services that allow users to bypass the Great Firewall.


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