On increased pressure from China, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) confirmed the removal of the crowd-sourced mapping app: HKMap.live from its App Store. Hong Kong residents have been using this popular mapping app along with accompanying web service to locate the police presence and the closure of streets. The app is useful for the residents of Hong Kong during ongoing protests for more than a year. Hong Kong based pro-democracy protestors have been using this app. Hence, HKmap.live attracted the ire of the Chinese Government.
HKmap.live violates local laws
Apple has removed the app: HKmap.live citing its use by criminals to target the police and ambush them. According to the cybersecurity and technology crime bureau in Hong Kong, the criminals are also using this app to target the residents where there is no presence of law enforcement agencies. Therefore, it violates the local laws and guidelines of Apple, and hence, the company removed the app from the App store.
HKmap developers refute Apple claim
The developers of HP
HKmap.live said there is no truth in the claims of Apple. The app never encourages or supports criminal activity. It is used for the aggregation of data from public sources and individual users that include Telegram, Facebook, and live news stream.
The developers strongly objected to Apple’s decision to remove the app in a tweet posted on the microblogging site – Twitter on October 10, 2019. They requested Apple to publish the violated local laws as proof for removing the app. It is to be noted that Apple allows apps such as Waze that enable tracking of police presence. Waze is still in the Apple app store. Apple has also removed another app: Quartz, a new app providing the coverage of protests in Hong Kong.
China Daily, the state media outlet (English), has criticized Apple for allowing app: HKmap.live in its app store yesterday. It argued that apps like HKmap in the Apple store circumvents the facts related to Hong Kong and hurts the principle and views of people in China. China daily is attacking Apple since HKmap.live is being used by rioters and indulges in violent acts.
The users of iPhone can still access the web version of the app: HKmap.live.