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Technology Tim Cook defends removing controversial Hong Kong map app from the App Store

23:30  10 october  2019
23:30  10 october  2019 Source:   bgr.com

Tim Cook defends Apple’s decision to remove Hong Kong protest app

  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.

Apple kicked up a firestorm on Wednesday when it decided to boot a mapping app called HKmap.live that protestors in Hong Kong have been using to keep tabs on police from the App Store.

Tim Cook wearing a suit and tie: tim-cook-apple-sign© Provided by Penske Media Corporation tim-cook-apple-sign

The decision came a day after the main newspaper of the Communist Party in China (People’s Daily) published a screed blasting Apple as being on the side of “rioters” in the area. “Letting poisonous software have its way is a betrayal of the Chinese people’s feelings,” the article reads. On Thursday, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to Apple employees defending the removal, lamenting that decisions like these “are never easy,” and that Apple has received “credible information” that the app is being used to target individual officers for violence.

Apple CEO Tim Cook urged to 'reverse course' after pulling Hong Kong protest app

  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.

Unfortunately, Tim’s email doesn’t provide any additional clarity or evidence to support those claims that at this point seem largely to be voiced by Chinese media.

Apple is the latest example of an American company to get caught up in the messy, complicated politics of China and Hong Kong, as the NBA and game company Blizzard have found themselves entangled as well.

The full text of Tim Cook’s email can be seen below:

Team,

You have likely seen the news that we made the decision to remove an app from the App Store entitled HKmap.live. These decisions are never easy, and it is harder still to discuss these topics during moments of furious public debate. It’s out of my great respect for the work you do every day that I want to share the way we went about making this decision.

Tim Cook defends Apple's HKmap.live app takedown

  Tim Cook defends Apple's HKmap.live app takedown In a company email, the Apple CEO said the app is being used maliciously to endanger people's lives.In the email, Cook said the decision was "not easy," and added "technology can be used for good or for ill.

It is no secret that technology can be used for good or for ill. This case is no different. The app in question allowed for the crowdsourced reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, protest hotspots, and other information. On its own, this information is benign. 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. This use put the app in violation of Hong Kong law. Similarly, widespread abuse clearly violates our App Store guidelines barring personal harm.

We built the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for every user. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously, and it’s one that we aim to preserve. National and international debates will outlive us all, and, while important, they do not govern the facts. In this case, we thoroughly reviewed them, and we believe this decision best protects our users.

Tim

The email was initially shared by the developer of HKmap.live via an anonymous Pastebin, but the accuracy of the email has since been verified by John Gruber, who said he saw a copy of the same email.

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Apple told makers of TV Plus shows to avoid depicting China critically, report says .
As original shows for Apple TV Plus were in development, executives reportedly told some creators to refrain from unflattering portrayals of the country.Early last year, Apple's head of international content development, Morgan Wandell, and its SVP of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, gave the China-related guidance to some show developers, BuzzFeed News reported late Friday, citing unnamed sources. BuzzFeed said the move was part of Apple's continuing efforts to remain on the Chinese government's good side, after iTunes Movies and the iBooks Store were shuttered in China six months after their 2016 debut there.

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