cloudy.png
Friday November 15th, 2019 11:15AM

Apple removes Hong Kong map app after Chinese criticism

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BEIJING (AP) — Apple removed a smartphone app that allows Hong Kong activists to report police movements from its online store Thursday after an official Chinese newspaper accused the company of facilitating illegal behavior.

Apple Inc. became the latest company to come under pressure to take Beijing's side against anti-government protesters when the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily said Wednesday the HKmap.live app "facilitates illegal behavior." The newspaper asked, "Is Apple guiding Hong Kong thugs?"

The Hong Kong demonstrations began over a proposed extradition law and expanded to include other grievances and demands for greater democracy.

Apple said in a statement HKmap.live was removed because it "has been used to target and ambush police" and "threaten public safety." It said that violated local law and Apple guidelines.

HKmap.live allows users to report police locations, use of tear gas and other details that are added to a regularly updated map. Another version is available for smartphones that use the Android operating system.

"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," said the Apple statement. "This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store."

A Twitter account linked to the app posted a statement denying it endangered police or Hong Kong residents. It said the app collects information from its users and public sources and doesn't "solicit, promote or encourage criminal activity."

The AP was unable to confirm whether the statement was posted by the app's developers.

In Hong Kong, users of HK Maps said the application helped them steer clear of police patrols whose riot-control methods and policing during the crisis have been widely decried as heavy-handed, undermining public support for what long was considered one of Asia's best police forces.

Office worker Acko Wong, 26, said he downloaded the app to help him avoid "danger and traffic" during the many protests that have shaken the city.

"If you know there are many police in that area, and I'm afraid they will arrest me for like wearing a mask or dressing in black or even if I'm young," he told AP.

He said the argument that the app could be used to ambush police and could point criminals to areas where police aren't stationed "does not make sense."

"How do you ambush a group of police with equipment and gear like helmets and shields?" he asked.

Apple phone user Canny Ng said Apple's decision was unacceptable and would make her think twice about buying more of the company's technology. Although she'd not downloaded the app before it was removed, she has consulted the web-based version of HK Maps that is still live.

With a 6-month-old baby boy at home, Ng said she has not joined the protests. But the crisis has left her afraid of the police, making HK Maps "quite useful," she said.

"I cannot accept what the police are doing right now," she said.

That the app even exists "means that most of the Hong Kong people, maybe they're really afraid of the police nowadays," she said. "Even myself, I just want to find a way that I won't see any police, especially when I'm wearing black. You're worried that, oh, maybe they will check your ID."

Activists complain Beijing and Hong Kong leaders are eroding the autonomy and Western-style civil liberties promised to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997.

The criticism of Apple followed government attacks starting last weekend on the National Basketball Association over a comment by the general manager of the Houston Rockets in support of the protesters. China's state TV has canceled broadcasts of NBA games.

People's Daily warned Apple's reputation with Chinese consumers might suffer.

"Apple needs to think deeply," the newspaper said.

Brands targeted in the past by Beijing have been subjected to campaigns by the entirely state-controlled press to drive away consumers or to disruptive investigations by tax authorities and other regulators.

China has long been critical to Apple's business.

The mainland is Apple's second-biggest market after the United States but CEO Tim Cook says it eventually will become No. 1.

Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, also is an important asset for China.

Most of its iPhones and tablet computers are assembled in Chinese factories that employ hundreds of thousands of people. Chinese vendors supply components for Mac Pro computers that are assembled in Texas.

___

Associated Press writer John Leicester in Hong Kong contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Apple removes Hong Kong map app after Chinese criticism
Apple drops app that allows activists in Hong Kong to report police movements from its online store following Chinese criticism
1:05AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Lights out: Power cut in California to prevent deadly fires
California's biggest utility cut power to more than a million people Wednesday for what could be days on end in the most sweeping effort in state history to prevent wildfires caused by windblown power lines
12:57AM ( 14 minutes ago )
10-spot: Cards oust Braves from NLDS with record 1st inning
The St. Louis Cardinals scored 10 runs for the biggest first inning in postseason history and dealt the Atlanta Braves another playoff heartbreak with a 13-1 rout in decisive Game 5 of the NL Division Series
12:49AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Australian PM worried IS may regroup in Syria
Australian PM says he's worried Turkey's campaign in Syria will lead to the resurgence of Islamic State group
11:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
Turkey begins offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey has begun a military operation against Kurdish fighters in Syria
9:34PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Americans in German synagogue as gunman hit door
The U.S. ambassador to Germany says 10 Americans were inside the synagogue in the eastern city of Halle that a gunman unsuccessfully tried to enter on Yom Kippur
8:37PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP World News
Asian shares mostly higher amid renewed trade deal hopes
Asian shares mixed amid flurry of reports on trade talks prospects
12:09AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: PG&E blames Diablo winds for power cuts
Pacific Gas & Electric says Diablo winds are to blame for extreme fire weather that has prompted it to shut off power to more than 1 million people
10:15PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: PG&E restored power to some; more cuts coming
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says it's already been able to restore service to about 44,000 customers after it cut power to a million people because of high winds that create a high fire danger
9:44PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Lights out: Power cut in California to prevent deadly fires
California's biggest utility cut power to more than a million people Wednesday for what could be days on end in the most sweeping effort in state history to prevent wildfires caused by windblown power lines
12:57AM ( 14 minutes ago )
10-spot: Cards oust Braves from NLDS with record 1st inning
The St. Louis Cardinals scored 10 runs for the biggest first inning in postseason history and dealt the Atlanta Braves another playoff heartbreak with a 13-1 rout in decisive Game 5 of the NL Division Series
12:49AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Kendrick slam in 10th lifts Nats over Dodgers 7-3, into NLCS
Howie Kendrick hit a tiebreaking grand slam off Joe Kelly in the 10th inning, and the Washington Nationals overcame a three-run deficit with a late rally to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-3 and advance to the NL Championship Series
12:47AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Rugby World Cup cancels 2 games ahead of powerful typhoon
Rugby World Cup organizers have had to cancel two games scheduled for Saturday because of concerns over the anticipated impact of Typhoon Hagibis
12:45AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Cuba Gooding Jr.'s groping trial set to begin on Thursday
Cuba Gooding Jr.'s New York trial on groping charges is set to begin
12:25AM ( 46 minutes ago )