Apple CEO Tim Cook explains why his company has controversially dropped an app designed to help Hong Kong residents avoid dangerous areas. However, she was also reportedly used by demonstrators to persecute the police.
His e-mail supports an earlier statement in which the company claimed that the app was used to combat police and destroy areas and people in which the police were absent.
The e-mail was recorded and first published by the app developers, which Apple later confirmed as authentic Reuters, Here it is in full:
You've probably received the message that we've decided to remove an app called HKmap.live from the App Store. These decisions are never easy, and it is even harder to discuss these issues in moments of intense public debate. Because of my great respect for your daily work, I would like to tell you how we made that decision.
It's no secret that technology can be used for better or for worse. This case is no different. The app enabled crowdsourcing reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, protest hotspots, and other information. This information is harmless in itself. In recent days, however, we received credible information from the Hong Kong Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau and users in Hong Kong that the app was maliciously used to detect individuals for violence and to sacrifice people and property where no police are present is. This use violates the law of Hong Kong. Similarly, widespread abuse clearly violates our App Store policies, with the exception of personal injury.
We've built the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for every user. It is a responsibility that we take very seriously and that we want to preserve. National and international debates will all survive us, and although they are important, they do not determine the facts. In this case, we have thoroughly reviewed it and believe that this decision best protects our users.
HKmap.lives refuted Cook's statement in a Twitter threadThere was no evidence to substantiate the CSTCB's allegations that the HKmap app was used to attack and / or rob police officers or harass someone in police absences. Most of the content in the app is generated by users, but allows users to make disapprovals, and moderators can take action on content that "demands, promotes or promotes criminal activity."
Apple had initially rejected the app in early October, claiming it had "allowed users to evade prosecution." Ars Technica, Critics noted that other apps like Waze are already doing that, and the company returned last week to approve the app.
This was met with criticism from representatives in China and Hong Kong, which reportedly led Apple to change course and remove HKmap.live from the App Store.
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