Apple Bans App That Allowed Hong Kong Protestors to Track Police Movements [Updated x2]

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Apple has reportedly banned an app that allows Hong Kong protestors to track protests and police movements in the city state, despite increasing international condemnation against the violence used by the authorities.


According to The Register, Apple has told the makers of the HKmap Live app that it can't be allowed in the App Store because it helps protestors to evade the police.
"Your app contains content - or facilitates, enables, and encourages an activity - that is not legal ... specifically, the app allowed users to evade law enforcement," the American tech giant told makers of the HKmap Live on Tuesday before pulling it.
Opposition to the Chinese state and the Hong Kong authorities has grown louder, driven by an escalation in violence against protestors over the past week. On Wednesday, thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to denounce the shooting of an unarmed teenage student by police.

Tsang Chi-kin was shot in the chest at point-blank range on Tuesday. He remains in hospital in stable but critical condition after surgery to remove the bullet, which narrowly missed his heart.

The rise in police violence has led protesters to make use of digital networking and collaborative tools to organize street gatherings, with services like HKmap Live being used to help them avoid what they perceive as government-orchestrated attacks.

This isn't the first time Apple has acted to remove apps from the App Store to abide by Chinese law. In July 2017, Apple removed the majority of VPN apps from the App Store in China, following regulations passed earlier in the year that require such apps to be authorized by the Chinese government.

Update 1:19 p.m.: Apple is reviewing its decision to reject HKmap Live, reports Bloomberg, and is likely investigating whether the software violates local laws. It's not yet clear if the app will be re-added to the App Store and the developer has not yet received an update from Apple following the commencement of the new review.

Update October 4 10:39 a.m.: As reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has now approved HKmap Live.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple Bans App That Allowed Hong Kong Protestors to Track Police Movements [Updated x2]
 
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Kabeyun

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The incident in which a protester was recently shot occurred because a group of 15 protesters chased down a cop and attacked him with billy clubs and hammers. If people are using an Apple app to figure out where to attack police officers, I understand that there might be another reason for pulling the app besides slavish compliance with the Chinese government.
 

Spizike9

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Nov 7, 2011
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The incident in which a protester was recently shot occurred because a group of 15 protesters chased down a cop and attacked him with billy clubs and hammers. If people are using an Apple app to figure out where to attack police officers, I understand that there might be another reason for pulling the app besides slavish compliance with the Chinese government.
I’ve read from two separate news agencies they were prodding with umbrellas like they all do over there. First time I’ve heard clubs and hammers. If it was just umbrellas then it was a terrible shoot. If it was hammers and clubs then it was a great shoot.

I’m all for the HK people to be free from communism and China but if they’re just protesting it needs to be non violent.Prodding with umbrellas is ok. Beating with hammers and clubs is not.
 
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lixuelai

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Oct 29, 2008
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I’ve read from two separate news agencies they were prodding with umbrellas like they all do over there. First time I’ve heard clubs and hammers. If it was just umbrellas then it was a terrible shoot. If it was hammers and clubs then it was a great shoot.

I’m all for the HK people to be free from communism and China but if they’re just protesting it needs to be non violent.Prodding with umbrellas is ok. Beating with hammers and clubs is not.
There are many videos about it. I suggest people watch it and form their own opinion.

Personally, as an expat in HK, I feel the protesters crossed the line awhile ago. In a race to the bottom everyone is a loser.

Edit: here is one from Channel News Asia which is Singaporean.
 
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JosephAW

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ksec

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The incident in which a protester was recently shot occurred because a group of 15 protesters chased down a cop and attacked him with billy clubs and hammers. If people are using an Apple app to figure out where to attack police officers, I understand that there might be another reason for pulling the app besides slavish compliance with the Chinese government.
I’ve read from two separate news agencies they were prodding with umbrellas like they all do over there. First time I’ve heard clubs and hammers. If it was just umbrellas then it was a terrible shoot. If it was hammers and clubs then it was a great shoot.

I’m all for the HK people to be free from communism and China but if they’re just protesting it needs to be non violent.Prodding with umbrellas is ok. Beating with hammers and clubs is not.
1. It is not clubs or hammers, it was more like a metal tone PVC Plastic tube.
2. I hardly call that the situation life threatening, he was hitting it at their body or hands ( Police with full protective gear)
3. It was shot close range, real bullet, Point Blank.

Were the protestors of violence, yes. Did they deserve the real bullets, I am sorry no matter how you spin it the answer is no. But then of course I guess in United States things might be viewed a little different. ( Edit in that Guns are used much more often. )

I do understand Apple 's position though. They Apps could be used as such, but should not be labelled and advertise to be used as such. Think of messages apps, you can use it for these communication, but if you label your message apps as only for violence and unlawful action it would hardly get pass any app checking.
 
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Kabeyun

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Apple’s bowing to the Chinese govt. Disgusting.
This is a move purely to keep the Chinese government happy. Shame on apple and captain cook.
Apple, always practicing what they preach. What a joke. Better watch out for that corporate social credit score.
Imagine if such an app was available for use in say the US for anitifa? /s
Again, if protesters are using the app to pinpoint the police in order to attack them with clubs, hammers, and incendiaries, you good with that?
 

Jynto

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Jan 16, 2012
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The incident in which a protester was recently shot occurred because a group of 15 protesters chased down a cop and attacked him with billy clubs and hammers. If people are using an Apple app to figure out where to attack police officers, I understand that there might be another reason for pulling the app besides slavish compliance with the Chinese government.
But at what point does the app's responsibility end and the individual's responsibility begin? It's worth pointing out, I feel, that the app wasn't instructing or suggesting that people attack police officers. They chose to do that themselves. By similar line of reasoning, one could claim the manufacturer of the hammers holds a degree of responsibility for this.
 

decafjava

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Feb 7, 2011
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Again, if protesters are using the app to pinpoint the police in order to attack them with clubs, hammers, and incendiaries, you good with that?
So if this was banned in the US you would be good with that too?
- - Post merged: - -

You mean like Waze?
Never used Waze, does it show for example police radar locations?
 
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Kabeyun

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1. It is not clubs or hammers, it was more like a metal tone.
2. I hardly call that the situation life threatening, he was hitting it at their body or hands ( Police with full protective gear)
3. It was shot close range, real bullet, Point Blank.

Were the protestors of violence, yes. Did they deserve the real bullets, I am sorry no matter how you spin it the answer is no. But then of course I guess in United States things might be viewed a little different.
You’re factually wrong, I’m afraid. Clubs, hammers, wrenches, and a Molotov cocktail. One officer was down and they surrounded him and beat him. Continued in spite of deployed tear gas. I really think you should watch the actual video footage and make a more informed comment.
So if this was banned in the US you would be good with that too?
I’d have to think about it. Let’s discuss again if such an app were used to attack LEOs.
 

SoGood

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Apr 9, 2003
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Just wait that we should support an app that tracks American soldiers to allow terrorists to attack! Well done Apple for doing the lawful thing!
 

Sasparilla

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Jul 6, 2012
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...Never used Waze, does it show for example police radar locations?
It relies on users to report what they find as they drive. Accidents, slow traffic, Red Light Stoplight Cameras, Police Vehicles etc.. It's quite useful.

Seeing Apple do this is shameful - as the App isn't designed to hurt anyone, just provide a situational awareness of whats going on the ground. The other side of this is you cannot rely on companies to protect your rights or stand up for you, because once its more profitable to not do so...they'll make the more profitable choice (or once a different CEO gets into power they'll make that choice).

Also shows the tyranny of having these few companies control total communication - it will eventually be used against the home population when the conditions are right. I feel bad for the HK's. I feel like we're watching a version of pre WW2 Poland again (at least the UK and France aren't saying they'll come to their aid without any intention of doing so this time).
 

centauratlas

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Jan 29, 2003
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"allowed users to evade law enforcement"

Encryption also allows people to "evade law enforcement"'s writs everywhere and protect information that might help law enforcement stay safe. How long until Apple bows to the authoritarians in China? (Or everywhere). Oh wait, they already moved the iCloud servers there and store the encryption keys there so they already did. That sets a poor precedent for the rest of the world.

Apple protects the enforcers of an authoritarian government.
 

johannnn

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Nov 20, 2009
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Protesting is fine. Protesting with tons of violence is not fine. The protestors in Hong Kong currently use waaay too much violence against the police. Does people here understand why the protestors use this app, or are people just Sanders fans and want to allow anything and everything? They track the police for the purpose to use violence. This is not ok regardless of which country it occurs in.