Tim CookSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple has declined a request to testify at a congressional hearing in March.
  • TikTok was also invited by Senator Josh Hawley on Monday, February 24.
  • The hearing is probing tech and its ties to China.

Apple and TikTok have declined to testify before a congressional hearing probing technology and its ties to China.

As reported by the Washington Post:

Apple and TikTok each have declined a request to testify at a March congressional hearing that would have probed their relationships with China, a move that threatens to ratchet up tensions with federal lawmakers who see Beijing as a privacy and security threat.

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), one of TikTok's leading critics, had invited the two tech firms to appear at a March 4 session, his office confirmed Monday. Both previously had declined to testify at a hearing last year on the same issue.

According to the report, TikTok does plan to send an aide to engage with the subcommittee, albeit at an unspecified later date, citing several new hires at the company. Apple did not comment on its absence.

Apple was blasted by Senator Hawley in November last year after it failed to appear at a similar hearing. Hawley claimed that Apple's ties with the nation risked "compromise with authoritarianism" stating:

"We're accustomed in hearings like this one to hearing about Apple as a good corporate citizen... But Apple's business model and business practices are increasingly entangled with China, a fact they would rather we think not too much about."

Recently, a group of organizations penned an open letter to Apple about its "serious concerns" regarding Apple's enabling of censorship and surveillance in China, citing instances such as the removal of the HKmap.live app from the app store, as well as the removal of the Taiwanese flag from the iOS keyboard for users in Hong Kong and China.