When establishing the constitution, our forefathers could not foresee all the changes today from medical breakthroughs to space travel to the internet. These marvels have also challenged our freedoms. The popularity of the internet was well established by 1996 with over 20 million American users. Today, 92% have internet access. In a 1997 case, Reno v ACLU, the Supreme Court ruled that the internet is entitled to the same degree of free speech protection as extended to the print media as opposed to a reduced level given to the broadcast media.
Apple Computers (Apple) stood firm for the First Amendment in 2016 when the FBI wanted to get in the "backdoor" of Syed Farook’s iPhone. Farook and his wife Tasheen Malik headed a a terrorist mass shooting of 36 people and attempted bombing at a local shoppi ng center on December 2, 2015. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Apple's refusal to write the software code to gain access to the iphone. The court upheld software as a part of free speech. Eventually, the FBI gained access on their own to the iphone.
Apple now is "see-sawing '' on free speech. With major COVID lockdowns, it has bowed to China's demands by removing VPN apps which allow users to encrypt their IP address and redirect users' iCloud data to government data centers. However Apple retorted these claims by saying that it saw the importance of an open society. Yet in the latest iPhone’s version, Apple restricted the use of Airdrop in China. This would have allowed wireless file-sharing features to secretly spread messages which would help those plotting against their government in the name of freedom.
Apple is not only against free speech in China--think again. Whatever your opinion of Twitter should not matter. It is a social platform for free speech whether in the form of blogs and social networking. Apple does not agree with Elon Musk's policies with Twitter and has threatened to remove the Twitter app from the App Store as part of its "app review moderation process".
The government can not restrict Free Speech but a private company can legally restrict as long as no governmental entanglement with that restriction. A worldwide internet means interpretation of free speech will differ. Court challenges will occur with changes in this technology. Hopefully our courts will follow our constitution in their interpretation or our republic will falter.