Technology: Apple Pulls App That Tracks Police Activity in Hong Kong - PressFrom - US
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Technology Apple Pulls App That Tracks Police Activity in Hong Kong

11:20  10 october  2019
11:20  10 october  2019 Source:   bloomberg.com

Apple Just Removed Hong Kong Protesters' Go-To App

  Apple Just Removed Hong Kong Protesters' Go-To App Apple says people have used HKlive.map to ambush police and threaten public safety.HKmap.live works by crowdsourcing social media reports to pinpoint where in Hong Kong protests are occurring, where police are located, and additional information, such as whether or not police are using weapons like tear gas or live ammunition.

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple removed an app on Wednesday that enabled protesters in Hong Kong to track police , a day after facing intense criticism from Chinese state media for it, plunging the technology giant deeper into the increasingly politicized atmosphere in China.

Apple Inc on Wednesday removed an app that protesters in Hong Kong have used to track police movements from its app store, saying it violated rules because it was used to ambush police . The U.S. tech giant had come under fire from China over the app

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. has pulled the plug on an app that shows police activity in Hong Kong, reversing course yet again as violent pro-democracy protests wrack the city.

The U.S. company said Thursday it’s now decided to remove HKmap.live from its App Store after consulting with local authorities, because it could endanger law enforcement and city residents. That marks a return to its original position, where it initially rejected the app. After an outcry, the iPhone maker allowed it to run for a few days before Thursday’s decision. The see-sawing is unusual for Apple, which exercises rigid control over its app store, the foundation of its global iPhone ecosystem.

Apple pulls HKmap.live app used in Hong Kong protests

  Apple pulls HKmap.live app used in Hong Kong protests The move comes after pressure from China.Apple said it removed the app after learning it has been used in ways that put law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong in danger.

Apple has pulled an app that tracked the movements of Hong Kong police through crowdsourced data, becoming the latest company this week to bow to Chinese On Twitter, HKmap.Live said it never solicits or promotes criminal activity and its moderators vote down content that appeared to do that.

Apple Inc on Wednesday removed an app that protesters in Hong Kong have used to track police movements from its app store, saying it violated rules because The HKmap.live App is pictured on a phone screen in this photo illustration, in Hong Kong , China, October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu.

Apple joins other foreign companies struggling to navigate the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong as protests that began in June show no sign of abating. The issue has become a red line for those doing business in China, most recently drawing the National Basketball Association into a firestorm over a tweet that’s caused partners to stop doing business with the league and state television to halt airing its games. A growing number of American giants, including Activision Blizzard Inc., find themselves embroiled in controversies over the extent to which their actions are influenced by economic considerations in a vast Chinese market.

“Many concerned customers in Hong Kong have contacted us about this app and we immediately began investigating it,” Apple said in a statement. “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.”

Apple removes Hong Kong protest app following Chinese pressure

  Apple removes Hong Kong protest app following Chinese pressure Apple's complex relationship with China has made the headlines again. Just a day after Chinese state media criticized the company for allowing HKmap in its App Store -- and a week after Apple flip flopped on its initial decision to delist the app -- the crowdsourced map app has been removed, again sparking concerns that Apple is pandering to China's political regime. The app, which shares information on the location of pro-democracy protests and police activity in Hong Kong, was slammed by China Daily -- owned by the Communist Party of China -- for enabling "rioters in Hong Kong to go on violent acts," adding that Apple has to "think about the consequences of its

Apple has removed an app that protesters in Hong Kong have used to track police movements and tear gas use, saying the app violated its rules. Apps previously have been removed after their release if they were found to facilitate illegal activity or threaten public safety.

An app that tracks the location of police patrols in Hong Kong is now available via Apple , despite the firm's reservations about its potential use. Apple had said the crowd-sourced HKmap Live, which also tracks tear-gas use, was not permitted because it "enables and encourages" illegal activity .

Read more: Moment of Truth on China Is Coming for Rest of Corporate America

Apple’s reversal came after the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper criticized Apple for letting the software through. Protesters in the city used HKmap.live to monitor police whereabouts and it facilitated illegal activities, the People’s Daily said in a commentary late Tuesday. But the app’s developers rejected that view.

“We disagree with Apple’s claim that our app endangered anyone” in Hong Kong, the developer said in a statement.

Greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, is Apple’s largest market after its own home country. The iPhone maker is also one of the most visible symbols of corporate America in the world’s No. 2 economy. Apple recently pulled the Taiwan flag emoji from some iPhones, underscoring the difficult balance the company must strike in supporting free speech while appeasing China. Beijing has long been sensitive to how foreign companies portray an island it considers part of its territory.

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(Updates with the developer’s comments from the fifth paragraph)

To contact the reporters on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at [email protected];Mark Gurman in San Francisco at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at [email protected], Peter Elstrom

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Tim Cook defends Apple’s decision to remove Hong Kong protest app .
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"According to Reuters, Cook said Apple based the decision on "credible information" from Hong Kong police and Apple users.

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