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Technology Apple removes app used by Hong Kong protestors after pressure from China

07:55  10 october  2019
07:55  10 october  2019 Source:   theverge.com

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Apple has removed HKmap.live, a crowdsourced mapping app used by Hong Kong protesters , from the App Store. The app and accompanying web Earlier today Apple also removed the app of news outlet Quartz, which has been providing strong coverage of the Hong Kong protests , from China ’s

Apple has reportedly banned an app that allows Hong Kong protestors to track protests and police movements in The rise in police violence has led protesters to make use of digital networking and collaborative In July 2017, Apple removed the majority of VPN apps from the App Store in China

Apple has removed HKmap.live, a crowdsourced mapping app widely used by Hong Kong residents, from the App Store. The app and accompanying web service has been used to mark the locations of police and inform about street closures during the ongoing pro-democracy protests that have engulfed Hong Kong this year.

a hand holding a cellphone© Provided by Vox Media, Inc.

Apple initially rejected HKmap.live from the App Store earlier this month, then reversed its decision a few days later. Now it has reversed its reversal.

Here’s Apple’s statement:

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.

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL ) on Wednesday removed an app that protestors in Hong Kong have used to track police movements, saying the app violated its rules because it was used to ambush police and by criminals who used it to victimize residents in areas

Hong Kong has been rocked by protests since early June, many of which have ended in violent clashes between police and demonstrators. Why did the protests start? The protests were initially focused on a bill that would have made it possible to extradite people from Hong Kong to China

Yesterday, English-language state media outlet China Dailyblasted Apple’s decision to allow HKmap.live onto the App Store. “Providing a gateway for ‘toxic apps’ is hurting the feelings of the Chinese people, twisting the facts of Hong Kong affairs, and against the views and principles of the Chinese people,” the op-ed argued.

Apple’s enforcement of App Store policies is inconsistent at best, so it’s hard to take its statement at face value. The company hasn’t said which “local laws” HKmap.live may violate. It is worth pointing out, however, that apps like Waze — which similarly allow users to track the locations of police checkpoints — remain in the App Store elsewhere. Earlier today Apple also removed the app of news outlet Quartz, which has been providing strong coverage of the Hong Kong protests, from China’s App Store.

For now, HKmap.live’s web version is still accessible on the iPhone.

Apple CEO Tim Cook urged to 'reverse course' after pulling Hong Kong protest app .
Four US representatives called the removal of the HKMaps.live app "deeply concerning.""Apple's decisions last week to accommodate the Chinese government by taking down HKMaps is deeply concerning. We urge you in the strongest terms to reverse course, to demonstrate that Apple puts values above market access, and to stand with the brave men and women fighting for basic rights and dignity in Hong Kong," the letter said. The letter follows the app's removal and Cook's meeting with China's market regulator in Beijing on Thursday, according to a report from Reuters.

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