The bug came to light when security researcher Patrick Wardle received a message from a Taiwanese friend, reporting that iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger all crashed when she typed the word 'Taiwan' or received a message containing the emoji for the Taiwanese flag.
On an iOS device with CN (China) set as the language/locale, iOS is looking for the Taiwanese flag emoji and then removing it. That code was buggy, which was what caused the crash. [...]
The company has been accused of putting sales ahead of human rights, agreeing to a long-running series of compromises to satisfy the Chinese government. The most controversial of these was moving the iCloud data of Chinese customers to a server run by a state-owned company, reportedly also handing over the encryption keys. Apple has also removed or restricted apps in the country -- including more than 400 VPN apps.
Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.
Pro tip: Don't expect Google Maps to work in China either:
In a slightly better universe this would be intentional: if you utter certain unspeakable words in the wrong place, then your phone will crash. In a still better world it would crash and then physically destroy itself.
(I wonder at what level physical self-destruction is prevented in phones: is whatever protects the battery part of the OS which you could, in principle, interfere with? I hope not, but, well.)
Unintentionally implemented HCF is unlikely, but China could mandate the inclusion of a pyrotechnic payload. But if you had only rooted a phone, I wonder if leaving the buzzer on would eventually cause overheating? You could also disable the volume and power buttons and just make the loudest possible noise forever, until there's no choice but to hit it with a hammer.
There was some model of chromebook which people I knew installed Linux on. It turned out that the audio output of the thing was very controllable by software, to the extent that you could persuade it, rather than sending sound to the speaker, just to clamp the output at +5V (or whatever the rail was). And the standard linux kernel didn't have whatever proprietary audio driver you needed not to allow this to happen. This caused a click, and then huge current to flow through the speaker, which partly melted the enclosure.
So at least in that case, yes, you could cause damage.
China's form of internet censorship is indirectly but surprisingly thoroughly self-defeating through the Streisand-like "gateway effect," they call it.
Is it fair to say that Taiwan is being dereferenced?