Apple chief Tim Cook on Thursday defended the decision to pull a program used by protesters from Hong Kong to monitor authorities, based on a leaked email to workers obtained employing a tech news website.
Apple eliminated the HKmap.live mobile program from the App Store after criticism by Beijing, which will be stepping up pressure on overseas firms regarded as providing support to this pro-democracy movement.
The program allowed for crowd-sourced mapping and reporting of police checkpoints, protest hotspots, along with other information that, by itself, is”benign” data, Cook said in a replica of an email to Apple workers shared online at Pastebin and submitted at tech news site The Verge.
“Over recent days we obtained credible advice, by your Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, in addition to from customers from Hong Kong, the program was used maliciously to target person officers for violence and also to victimize people and land in which no authorities are found,” the email read.
“This usage place the program in breach of Hong Kong law. Likewise, widespread abuse simplifies our App Store guidelines barring personal injury.”
Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment in AFP.
The manufacturers of HKmap.live have cautioned the program to gather information from customers, social networks and information outlets to demonstrate where authorities have accumulated, not where they are not. They’ve denied their program encouraged criminal action, and lashed out in Apple’s elimination as”censorship” and”obviously a political decision to curb liberty.”
Chinese state media this week tore to the program, charging that it had been assisting”rioters.” Communist Party mouthpiece The People’s Daily stated by stocking the program, Apple has been”mixing business with politics, as well as illegal acts.”
Hong Kong continues to be staggered by four weeks of increasingly violent protests, originally against a now-shelved extradition legislation, but whose attention has shifted to wider pro-democracy aims.