For immediate release: March 22, 2024


Today the U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of 16 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple for maintaining a monopoly in the smartphone market. Digital rights group Fight for the Future, who have worked to highlight the human rights issues with Apple’s monopoly, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to the group’s director, Evan Greer (she/her):

“The announcement of the Department of Justice  to sue Apple over antitrust violations is a watershed moment in the fight against corporate power and to protect human rights against powerful digital gatekeepers. Too often the problems with gatekeeper power are ignored, and people around the world pay the price. Apple has a track record of sacrificing the rights of their users when doing so benefits their ability to do business in authoritarian countries.

“The case against Apple is compelling and includes many examples of where Apple executives sacrificed user experience in the name of profits. They could not do this without monopoly power that forces users to accept a worse product, censored apps, and walled garden that eliminates choice.

“This abuse of monopoly power leads to real human rights consequences. Apple has a history of helping governments isolate, silence, and oppress political opposition, protesters, and minority groups. Apple’s restrictive app store policies have enabled the censorship of Tibetans & religious groups in China and LGBTQ+ content on a staggering scale globally. Local laws may require this, but being a censorship chokepoint is Apple’s choice, a choice made for profit that destroys lives. The App Store also requires elaborate systems of control that let Apple install unremovable spyware on iPhones. This control is an existential threat to privacy and endangers everyone from LGBTQ+ youth to human rights activists fighting authoritarianism.

“We applaud the DOJ and state attorneys general for filing this lawsuit and encourage Congress to take any action necessary to break up Apple’s gatekeeper power so that people in the United States and around the world can access the information and apps they want at fair prices. Surveillance capitalism and monopoly abuses are at the root of Big Tech harm. We need more actions like this from the federal government. It’s critical to address the root of the problem rather than more misguided calls for censorship and expanded surveillance.”

Charlie Smith, co-founder of GreatFire, added, “Apple’s anti-competitive business practices are being hijacked by authoritarian governments around the world to aid in censorship and surveillance. Forcing Apple to change their business model would not only benefit developers and shareholders, but also the hundreds of millions of Apple customers who are unable to freely access information because they use an Apple device.”