Less than a day after Apple has been criticized by Chinese state press for allowing HKmap in the appstore, the crowdsourced map program said it was delisted. Its removal comes less than a week after Apple reversed its original decision to reject the program, which provides information about the location of pro-democracy presentations, street closures and police activity (its internet site remains available).
After Apple allowed HKmap in to the appstore, articles in the China Daily, a newspaper owned by the Communist Party of China, criticized that the company, claiming that it enabled”rioters in Hong Kong to be on violent acts,” and adding that”Business is business, and politics is politics…Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless choice.”
While the government has tagged protestors including through co ordinated campaigns on social media, human rights groups like Amnesty International have recorded instances of police abuse against protestors.
HKmap’s creators tweeted that the Apple said they whined, and asserted it endangered law enforcement and residents.
The program’s programmers included that”there is 0 evidence to encourage CSTCB’s [that the Hong Kong police ’s Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau] accusation which HKmap Program was used to target and also ambush police, undermine public security, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in places where they know there is not any police. ” They also noted other programs comprising public postings and information, including commuters Waze, that will be employed by commuters to avoid traffic and police, are still allowed around the appstore.
“The quoted Apple’s appstore Review Guideline is obscure, does this include user-generated contents? We are convinced you can find contents’solicit, promote, or encourage criminal activity from Facebook,” Instagram, Safari, Telegram, Twitter, Waze, whats app, etc., at some point over time,” wrote HKmap’s programmers.
Pro-democracy demonstrations began in March to protest that a now-withdrawn statement which would have allowed extradition to southern China, but have risen to encompass extra demands that center on Hong Kong’s capability to safeguard rights, including freedom of media and speech, under the”one country, two systems” policy that has been in place as it was returned out of British rule into China in 1997.
This may be the most up-to-date in several conclusions made by Apple who have concerned observers that were pro-democracy and appear built to induce the government of China . Two decades back, it removed VPN programs from its appstore from China and over the last week has removed that the Taiwan flag emoji from the iOS computer keyboard in Hong Kong and the program edition of Quartz from the Hong Kong appstore, reportedly as a result of its demonstration coverage.
TechCrunch has contacted Apple for comment.