Apple Pulls Mapping App Used by Hong Kong Protesters (Again)

Evarado Alatorre
Octubre 12, 2019

The reason: authorities in Hong Kong said the app was being used by protestors to find police and attack them.

It added that "this app violates our guidelines and local laws".

Apple made the decision a day after a Chinese state newspaper wrote a commentary criticizing the company for approving the app.

"National and global debates will outlive us all, and, while important, they do not govern the facts", Cook wrote in his letter. He says a lot of American tech firms are thinking of building manufacturing sites outside China - "they worry the tariffs (imposed by the U.S. on Chinese-produced goods) may become permanent".

In context: Yesterday we came to know of Apple removing two apps from its App Store in light of the protests being held in Hong Kong. A spokesperson for Google said that the Play Store prohibits "capitalising on sensitive events such as attempting to make money from serious ongoing conflicts or tragedies through a game".

The dynamic, crowd-sourced app HKmap.live has become popular for helping people to navigate through the tear gas-filled streets in Hong Kong, a former British colony where pro-democracy protests have erupted since June against Beijing's creeping interference.

The developers of HKmap.live said they disagree with claims that the app is a public safety threat and said there was zero evidence backing up the Hong Kong authorities' allegations. "However, over the past several days we received credible information from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present". The company also removed BackupHK, a separate app that served as a mirror of the HKmap.live app.

Apple was under fire this week after banning an app that tracked the location of both police and protesters in Hong Kong on a live map.

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Apple did not respond to a request for comment on Wang's remarks.

Apple initially held off on approving the app but chose to list it on its App Store, but eventually made it available for users to download on October 5, the South China Morning Post reported.

We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place to discover apps. Thursday's removal of the app drew immediate reprimands from Washington.

Jewelry seller Tiffany & Co., game developer Blizzard and footwear maker Nike have also been caught up in Chinese outrage over Hong Kong-related issues. "I think China has a lot of respect for me, for our country, for what we are doing". The news organization told The Verge that they "abhor this kind of government censorship of the internet". A number of services, most notably the driving app Waze, prominently offer western users the option of avoiding police speed checks.

The metro normally carries around 5 million people a day.

Hong Kong's metro operator opened all its stations on Friday for the first time in a week, before another round of anti-government protests at the weekend, as the city's legislature began its first session since protesters stormed the building in July.

The HKmap.live app was taken down from Apple's App Store globally on Wednesday but continued to work for users who had previously downloaded it in Hong Kong, Reuters found.

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