Apple has eliminated HKmap.dwell, a crowdsourced mapping app broadly utilized by Hong Kong residents, from the App Store. The app and accompanying internet service has been used to mark the areas of police and inform about road closures throughout the ongoing pro-democracy protests which have engulfed Hong Kong this yr.
Here’s Apple’s assertion:
We created the App Store to be a protected and trusted place to find apps. We have discovered that an app, HKmap.dwell, has been utilized in ways in which endanger legislation enforcement and residents in Hong Kong. Many involved clients in Hong Kong have contacted us about this app and we instantly started investigating it. The app shows police areas and we now have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to focus on and ambush police, threaten public security, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas the place they know there isn’t any legislation enforcement. This app violates our pointers and native legal guidelines, and we now have eliminated it from the App Store.
“There is 0 evidence to support CSTCB’s accusation,” the HKmap builders stated in response. “HKmap App never solicits, promotes, or encourages criminal activity. HKmap App consolidates information from user and public sources, e.g. live news stream, Facebook and Telegram.”
Yesterday, English-language state media outlet China Daily blasted Apple’s determination to permit HKmap.dwell 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.
— HKmap.dwell 全港抗爭即時地圖 (@hkmaplive) October 10, 2019
Apple’s enforcement of App Store insurance policies is inconsistent at greatest, so it’s onerous to take its assertion at face worth. The firm hasn’t stated which “local laws” HKmap.dwell might violate. It is value mentioning, nevertheless, that apps like Waze — which equally enable customers to trace the areas of police checkpoints — stay within the App Store elsewhere. Earlier immediately Apple additionally eliminated the app of stories outlet Quartz, which has been offering sturdy protection of the Hong Kong protests, from China’s App Store.
For now, HKmap.dwell’s web version remains to be accessible on the iPhone.