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Alex Stamos calls Apple ‘shameful’ for saying Crimea is part of Russia

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  • Apple has listed Crimea is part of Russia on its services while inside Russia.
  • The country illegally annexed the Ukrainian region in 2014, a move that was condemned by the United States and the international community.
  • Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former Facebook chief, has slammed Apple’s decision to display the Ukrainian region as part of Russia.
  • The exec called it “shameful” and said it highlighted Apple’s “docile” workforce compared to other, more outspoken companies.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple’s decision to list Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula as part of Russia has been slammed as “shameful” by Facebook’s former security chief, Alex Stamos.

On Wednesday, the BBC reported that while inside Russia, Apple’s apps now show Crimea as part on the country. The region is a part of Ukraine, and was illegally annexed by the Russian military in 2014. The United States has rejected Russia’s claim of sovereignty over Crimea and decried its “occupation” — but California-headquartered Apple has acquiesced to the Russian government’s request for it to be portrayed as Russian territory in services like Apple Maps and Weather.

Stamos, the chief security officer for Facebook from 2015-18 who is outspoken on security and geopolitical issues, has weighed in on Twitter to blast Apple’s actions.

“Apple’s shameful behavior in Russia and China shows: A) The benefit to management of having a docile, internally-isolated employee base. B) The downsides of shipping a physical product, which strengthens the leverage governments have over a company,” he wrote.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

Apple’s actions highlight how multinational technology companies have become pressured by — and are increasingly acquiescing to — authoritarian governments over their products, even when the changes requested are antithetical to liberal, democratic values.

Stamos added: “An emerging consensus in Silicon Valley that ‘we follow the law’ is an appropriate response to global calls to regulate tech, even when incompatible with corporate ideals.”

Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, Vadym Prystaiko, also dinged Apple, tweeting: “iPhones are great products. Seriously, though, @Apple, please, please, stick to high-tech and entertainment. Global politics is not your strong side. #CrimeaIsUkraine”

The security exec also drew a comparison between Google’s famously vocal and politically engaged employee base and Apple’s, which has not seen the same kind of worker protests and internal organising actions that have roiled other tech companies in recent years.

“There is an apocryphal claim that UC Davis lacks a central square due to the experience of the Regents dealing with student unrest at Berkeley in Sproul Plaza,” he wrote. “The next generation of tech leaders will learn the same lesson from the experience of Apple’s vs Google’s management.”

Here’s Alex Stamos’ full string of tweets:

Do you work at Apple? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at [email protected], Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.)

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