pple has reversed course once again and removed an app that allowed Hong Kong protesters to track police movements following a strongly-worded Chinese state media editorial.
HKmap.live uses information crowdsourced through Telegram and other channels to show the real-time locations of Hong Kong police, as well as the places where tear gas has been fired and where demonstrators should head next.
Apple initially rejected the app when it came out but then allowed it on its store last week, prompting criticism from China’s state media. In a Tuesday editorial, the People’s Daily accused Apple of “opening the door” to “poisonous software” and violent protests.
To explain its decision to finally remove the HKmap, Apple said in a statement that the app was being used in ways that “endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong,” coming to this conclusion after investigation and having talked with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau.
“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,” Apple said.
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) October 10, 2019
On Twitter, HKmap developers said that there was “zero evidence” to support the bureau’s accusation, declaring that the app never “solicits, promotes, or encourages criminal activity.”
According to reports from users, the app still functions for those who have already downloaded it from the Apple Store. Meanwhile, it remains available on Google Play and in its web version.