What is hypocrisy 1
There is one tone that is extremely popular in Silicon Valley: sublime pathos. Whether someone builds self-driving electric cars or smartphones, whether he stirs up the taxi industry or the hotel industry, whether he comes up with a social network or a cryptocurrency. It is always about nothing less than this: improving the world.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergej Brin wrote a letter before going public in 2004, which is still considered the Magna Charta of the technology industry. "We want to create an environment," it says, "in which creative and hard-working people are rewarded for making the world a better place". And Apple founder Steve Jobs also knew what life is really about: "I don't want to be the richest guy in the cemetery. Which really means something to me: going to bed in the evening knowing that you've done something wonderful."
Of course, Tesla founder Elon Musk does not want to stand back, his credo matured early on: "The heroes of my favorite books, 'Lord of the Flies' or the 'Foundation Trilogy', always wanted to save the world." Now the question arises in a very specific way: Are these people really do-gooders? Or are they just world champions of hypocrisy?
Last weekend, Apple removed numerous apps for virtual private networks (VPN) from its range in China. So-called VPN tunnels create a protected connection abroad. So far, Chinese users have been able to bypass state censorship. VPN was one of the very few ways to bypass the country's internet blocks; but now they are denied access to information on sensitive topics. Facebook and Twitter have been banned by the Chinese government for years. Google services or the video platform Youtube, many international media or websites that criticize Beijing's politics or address human rights issues are also blocked. Recently, the Whatsapp news service was also massively disrupted. Apple had already caused trouble at the beginning of the year when, at Beijing's request, the news app of the New York Times deleted from its offer in China.
"We would obviously have preferred not to remove the apps," Apple CEO Tim Cook now justifies the deletion of the VPN programs. "But like in any other country, we obey the law." He believes "that we can enter into dialogue with governments even if we disagree".
Last year you could see Cook, the idealist, when he refused, this time completely guardian of data protection, to decipher the telephone of an assassin for the American federal agency FBI. That may have been brave, but it wasn't bad for business either.
But other CEOs also find it difficult to explain. On Wednesday it came out that Beijing Sinnet Technology, the Chinese partner of the Amazon subsidiary AWS, has asked its customers to remove these bypasses for the Internet blockade in China from their computers. Is everything in line with the big goals of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos?
Apple has sold iPhones since 2007. At that time, the company from Silicon Valley presented the first device and thus triggered a revolution in the mobile communications market. Today the iPhone is by far Apple's most important product, it accounts for two thirds of sales. Sales are increasing almost everywhere, but not in China. There, sales fell by 9.5 percent in the past quarter. Apple is only in fifth place among manufacturers in China.
In 2013 in the USA for $ 250 million it got the highly regarded Washington Post bought, which currently accompanies the presidency of Donald Trump critically and stands for independent and trustworthy journalism as well as free access to information.
Bezos should also be clear what the aim of the Chinese Ministry of Information Technology is: Beijing wants to make the so-called "Great Firewall", this large virtual protective wall against inconvenient information, as impenetrable as possible. It is no accident that the governments most fearful of freedom and democracy want to be the most eager to control the Internet. The Russian President Vladimir Putin, for example, recently passed a law according to which connections via VPN are no longer allowed in Russia.
How does all of this fit in with the big promises made by bosses?
But how does this all fit in with the great promise of the digital revolution that this Internet should free the world from borders and walls and censorship? So are the Silicon Valley corporations and their bosses now becoming henchmen of totalitarian regimes?
In any case, one thing is certain: When it comes to big business, moral standards are noticeably dimmed. The accusation of hypocrisy is not entirely new - for example, when companies around the world search for tax loopholes in order to channel as much money as possible into their own coffers; or if you care about the protection of intellectual property, especially as soon as it is your intellectual property.
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