Saturday, August 21, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Engraving Censorship

Jeffrey Knockel and Lotus Ruan (tweet, Hacker News):

We analyzed Apple’s filtering of product engravings in six regions, discovering 1,105 keyword filtering rules used to moderate their content.

Across all six regions we analyzed, we found that Apple’s content moderation practices pertaining to derogatory, racist, or sexual content are inconsistently applied and that Apple’s public-facing documents failed to explain how it derives their keyword lists.

Within mainland China, we found that Apple censors political content including broad references to Chinese leadership and China’s political system, names of dissidents and independent news organizations, and general terms relating to religions, democracy, and human rights.

We found that part of Apple’s mainland China political censorship bleeds into both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Much of this censorship exceeds Apple’s legal obligations in Hong Kong, and we are aware of no legal justification for the political censorship of content in Taiwan.

We present evidence that Apple does not fully understand what content they censor and that, rather than each censored keyword being born of careful consideration, many seem to have been thoughtlessly reappropriated from other sources.

Drew Harwell:

Apple, which says it will refuse government demands to expand its on-device image scanning, currently blocks people from getting the phrase “Human Rights” or “Freedom of the Press” engraved on their iPhone because China doesn’t like it

Previously:

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