Chinese iPhones crash when users try to type Taiwanese flag characters

A now-fixed bug in Ios caused Chinese-localized Iphones to reboot any time the user tried to enter the character combination for a Taiwanese flag or the word "Taiwan"; the bug was caused by Apple's China-only censorship and surveillance software.

One of the Chinese government's most sensitive no-go zones are the separatist movements that agitate for independent home-rule in Taiwan, Tibet, Xianjing and other territories. Part of the suppression of these movements is a broad prohibition on the display of their national flags.

Apple's bug was apparently triggered by a routine that flagged messages containing potential dissident sentiments for examination by Chinese political officers who would make decisions about whether to censure the phone's owner for expressing prohibited ideas.

The Chinese mobile market is responsible for as many Apple handset sales as all of the EU combined. Apple has made major concessions to maintain access to this market, including moving Icloud to Chinese servers, blocking VPNs from its App Store, and reportedly backdooring its software to give Chinese domestic surveillance agencies covert access to users' data.

Apple is not alone in its complicity with Chinese state human rights abuses; all domestic Android companies certainly censor/surveil as much (or more) than Apple does; other western companies are likewise bound to participate in Chinese state surveillance as a condition of selling in the Chinese market.

China is a massively important market to Apple, as big as all European countries combined. The company has been accused of putting sales ahead of human rights, agreeing to a long-running series of compromises to satisfy the Chinese government. The most controversial of these was moving the iCloud data of Chinese customers to a server run by a state-owned company, reportedly also handing over the encryption keys. Apple has also removed or restricted apps in the country – including more than 400 VPN apps.

A Remote iOS Bug
[Patrick Wardle/Objective See]

Now-fixed iOS 11.3 bug reveals how Apple censors the Taiwanese flag on Chinese iPhones
{Ben Lovejoy/9to5 Mac]

(via JWZ)