Tim Cook defends Apple’s removal of a Hong Kong protest app from the App Store

Apple has pulled the controversial HKmap.reside app, which shows the location of police, from its app retailer following a essential op-ed in the People’s Daily, a Chinese state-owned newspaper. Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended the resolution in an inner memo.

According to a report from Reuters, Apple based mostly the resolution on “credible information” from Hong Kong police, in addition to from Apple itself. Reportedly, the app was getting used “maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present.” That constitutes a violation of App Store tips, in response to the firm.

When Apple initially eliminated the app, an Apple spokesperson acknowledged that the app had been used to “target and ambush police,” endangering public security as a outcome.

“We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place to discover apps. We have learned that an app, HKmap.live, has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong. Many concerned customers in Hong Kong have contacted us about this app and we immediately began investigating it. The app displays police locations and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement. This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store.”

The developer of HKmap.reside has taken to Twitter to publicly disagree with Apple’s resolution, stating there isn’t a proof the app endangers residents and police in Hong Kong.

1. We disagree @Apple and @hkpoliceforce 's declare that HKmap App endanger regulation enforcement and residents in Hong Kong.#HKmap #HKmaplive #HK #Censorship

— HKmap.reside 全港抗爭即時地圖 (@hkmaplive) October 10, 2019

At this time, the HKmap.reside web site remains to be accessible from iPhone internet browsers.

HKmap.reside isn’t the solely app to have been affected by Apple’s purge of pro-democracy apps. News app Quartz can be reporting it has been eliminated from the Chinese app retailer following alleged complaints from the Chinese authorities about Quartz’s protection of the protests.

The controversy stems from an op-ed revealed in the Chinese state-owned newspaper, the People’s Daily. It launched an assault towards Apple, warning the expertise big about the attainable penalties of permitting the app HKmap.reside, in addition to different media that allegedly assist independence for Hong Kong, onto its app retailer.

As reported by AFP, the op-ed in The People’s Daily takes intention at a couple of targets, together with the NBA, however places Apple firmly in its sights later in the piece. Accusing Apple of being an “accomplice to the rioters,” the article went on to warn that “Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision.” That resolution refers to permitting an app that provides details about police exercise and protests round the Hong Kong space.

HKmap.reside, exhibiting reside details about protests and police exercise in Hong Kong. The app is utilized by protesters, and was just lately eliminated from the Apple App Store.

The People’s Daily takes a specific stance on this, claiming the app permits rioters to keep away from police and commit violent acts in different areas. This is a description of the app rejected by the app’s developer, who took to Twitter to level out that the app really helps the police by highlighting “blue flag areas” — these areas the place the police have briefly deemed it unlawful to assemble.

Read this when you don't understand how "illegal assembly" works in #HK https://t.co/SSqJ3NzMpn

Just like Waze, folks get notified of visitors cam forward, to allow them to decelerate. No one is breaking any regulation.

— HKmap.reside 全港抗爭即時地圖 (@hkmaplive) October 2, 2019

It isn’t simply HKmap.reside that The People’s Daily has a problem with — it refers to the app as solely being the tip of the iceberg. It additionally mentions an independence-supporting track being allowed onto the Apple Music retailer — most definitely referencing the track Glory to Hong Kong, which has turn into one thing of an anthem for the protesters. According to the piece, the track was eliminated from the retailer earlier than being allowed again on once more.

This is unlikely to be the final we hear of the technological sphere mixing with the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Professional Hearthstone participant Chung Ng Wai was banned from the Hearthstone Grandmasters competitors for utilizing his post-match interview to assist the protesters in Hong Kong. The Chinese authorities was additionally accused of operating disinformation campaigns by means of Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube.

Updated on October 10, 2019: Apple has pulled the HKmap.reside from the App Store, and Tim Cook has defended the resolution. 

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