Apple commits to freedom of information and expression in human rights policy

Sept 4- Apple Inc said it was committed to freedom of information and expression in a document it has published on its humans rights policy- a move which follows increased pressure from shareholders. The U.S. tech giant has come under fire for removing virtual network apps from its App store in China and at its February annual general meeting a shareholder…

Sept 4 (Reuters) – Apple Inc said it was committed

to freedom of information and expression in a document it has

published on its humans rights policy – a move which follows

increased pressure from shareholders.

The U.S. tech giant has come under fire for removing virtualnetwork apps from its App store in China and at its Februaryannual general meeting a shareholder proposal called on Apple topublicly commit “to respect freedom of expression as a humanright”.

While it was defeated, it gained 40.6% of votes cast – farmore than similar motions put forward previously and enough topush the company to respond, experts said.

“We believe in the critical importance of an open society inwhich information flows freely, and we’re convinced the best waywe can continue to promote openness is to remain engaged, evenwhere we may disagree with a country’s laws,” Apple states inthe policy document.

It said its policy was based on the United Nations’ guidingprinciples on business and human rights.

Human rights activists have also called on Apple to cut tieswith suppliers alleged to be using the forced labour ofthousands of ethnic Uighurs in Chinese factories and it hasfaced much criticism for removing an app that helped Hong Kongprotesters track police movements.

Apple argued that the app was being used to targetindividual police officers and to victimize individuals andproperty, violating Hong Kong law.

(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by EdwinaGibbs)

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