The tech giant removed the app HKmap.live which protesters in Hong Kong have used to track police movements, saying that the app violated the company’s rules because it was used to “target and ambush police.”
Less than a day after Apple sparked controversy by removing a Hong Kong protest app, CEO Tim Cook has defended the decision. Apple removed the HKmap.live app after China Daily — owned by the Communist Party of China — criticized the company for listing it in the App Store. In an internal letter, Cook wrote, “we believe this decision best protects our users.”
According to Reuters, Cook said Apple based the decision on “credible information” from Hong Kong police and Apple users. Those sources said the app was used to “maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present.” That kind of behavior would violate App Store guidelines prohibiting personal harm.
Critics argue that the app does not show the location of individual officers, so it could not be used to target law enforcement as Cook described. They say there’s no evidence that the app has been used to threaten police or public safety and that apps like Waze, which crowdsources information about police locations are still in the App store. So, while Cook was likely hoping to set the record straight and quell the controversy, plenty of people are still upset with the decision.
Apple has removed an app that shows police activity in Hong Kong pic.twitter.com/Wmv1EIzWo6— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) October 10, 2019