Apple’s board has approved a “human rights” policy and announced it quietly ahead of a September 5 deadline for shareholders to submit proposals for next year’s investor meeting. Apple does not mention China, but the stench permeates the document thoroughly.
The four-page document [PDF], quoted here for the first time, try to draw a fine line between upholding human rights while admitting that Apple is “required to comply with local laws” in authoritarian countries.
The document said that Apple is “committed to respecting the human rights of everyone whose lives we touch – including our employees, suppliers, contractors and customers.”
Its approach is based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. But it does not mention any particular country, and it does not refer to high-profile dilemmas such as what to do when China, the world’s largest smartphone market, asks to ban apps that help users avoid censorship and surveillance. Apple’s policy only states: “Where national law and international human rights standards differ, we adhere to the higher standard. Where they are in conflict, we respect national law while trying to respect the principles of internationally recognized human rights. ”
MacDailyNews Take: In a nutshell: We want to do more, but money is involved, so we surrender to despots.
Apple’s complete policy document is here.