Apple Rolls Out New 'Human Rights' Policy

Apple unveils a new 'human rights' policy it says will protect security, user privacy, freedom of information and expression.
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Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report on Friday released a new set of guidelines surrounding its policies on human rights, including its strategy on free speech and access to information following shareholder backlash from last year. 

The four-page document titled, "Our Commitment to Human Rights," outlines the iPhone maker's focus and commitment to human rights as it relates to its technology.

It comes in the wake of long-standing concerns among shareholders and the public over the company's track record on human rights. Apple for years has been criticized for bowing to demands from China in particular. 

Indeed, shareholder concerns mounted when the iPhone maker banned an app in Hong Kong that enables users to crowdsource real-time information on police whereabouts, locations of traffic obstructions and protesters in October 2019.

"We’ve worked hard to embed a respect for human rights across our company—in the technology we make, in the way we make it, and in how we treat people," the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said.

"We believe in the critical importance of an open society in which information flows freely, and we’re convinced the best way we can continue to promote openness is to remain engaged, even where we may disagree with a country’s laws."

Apple's approach is based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The company says its commitment to human rights extends not only to its technology, but also its supply chain and how it treats people. 

The guidelines come a day after Apple saw nearly $200 billion of its market capitalization vanish amid a broader downturn in financial markets, led by technology companies.

Shares of Apple were down 4.26% at $115.73 in trading on Friday.