Intentionally or not, Apple has made a switch to the hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS) Internet communications protocol for the App Store. By doing so, the company has made it impossible for censors in China to block users from searching for certain types of apps.
Before the change, searching for VPN apps — which are popular with Chinese users for allowing access outside of the “Great Firewall of China” — would cause connections to the App Store to reset. That kept Chinese users from being able to download such apps if they were available in the Chinese App Store.
HTTPS keeps the Great Firewall of China from interrupting the connection to apps. The Next Web and Greatfire.org (a site that monitors Chinese Internet censorship) performed testing and found that certain apps blocked under HTTP are available now that HTTPS is being used to access the App Store.
It’s unlikely that the authoritarian government of China will allow this loophole to remain open.