Apple CEO Tim Cook defends removal of Hong Kong mapping app in email to employees

Apple CEO Tim Put collectively dinner has sent an email to workers with a lengthier motive of why the corporate chose to select away HKmap.stay from the App Retailer the day old to this. Equivalent to Apple’s commentary remaining evening, Put collectively dinner claims that the app — a crowdsourced mapping machine that’s turn out to be precious amid the ongoing protests in Hong Kong — became once being misused in techniques that can perhaps well per chance also threaten public security.

“The app in request allowed for the crowdsourced reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, convey hotspots, and varied recordsdata,” Put collectively dinner wrote. “On its salvage, this recordsdata is benign. On the opposite hand, over the previous loads of days we bought credible recordsdata, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as effectively as from users in Hong Kong, that the app became once being susceptible maliciously to residence particular particular person officers for violence and to victimize folk and property the attach no police are most sleek.”

Put collectively dinner’s stout email is below. It became once within the starting up revealed by HKmap.stay’s developers, and Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has vouched for its authenticity.

Personnel,

You possess possible viewed the news that we made the option to select away an app from the App Retailer entitled HKmap.stay. These choices are by no plan easy, and it’s miles more animated aloof to talk about these matters for the length of moments of infected public debate. It’s out of my titanic admire for the work you set each day that I are attempting to fragment the model we went about making this option.

It’s no secret that technology would possibly perhaps per chance well per chance also very effectively be susceptible for steady or for ailing. This case is no varied. The app in request allowed for the crowdsourced reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, convey hotspots, and varied recordsdata. On its salvage, this recordsdata is benign. On the opposite hand, over the previous loads of days we bought credible recordsdata, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as effectively as from users in Hong Kong, that the app became once being susceptible maliciously to residence particular particular person officers for violence and to victimize folk and property the attach no police are most sleek. This use place the app in violation of Hong Kong law. Equally, frequent abuse clearly violates our App Retailer techniques barring inside of most harm.

We built the App Retailer to be a stable and depended on advise for every user. It’s a accountability that we pick very critically, and it’s one that we aim to retain. National and global debates will outlive us all, and, while crucial, they set no longer govern the info. In this case, we thoroughly reviewed them, and we deem this option most effective protects our users.

Tim

Put collectively dinner’s email doesn’t provide any specifics on these incidents the attach HKmap.stay became once supposedly at threat of residence particular particular person law enforcement officials. It’s an alarming express, as is the premise that of us would use the mapping app nefariously to pounce on areas with low police presence. But it completely’s largely been advise-scramble media in China pushing these provoking reviews so a long way.

HKmap.stay’s developers possess pushed help in opposition to Apple’s claims and reiterated that the app aggregates and consolidates recordsdata from users, news sources, and social networks love Facebook and Telegram. HKmap.stay by no plan shows a lack of police on its scheme, only areas the attach they’ve congregated.

5. So much of the contents are user-generated, and we enable users to down vote for moderator overview. Moderator will delete contents that “solicit, promote, or encourage criminal job”. Repeated attempt will possible be banned.

— HKmap.stay 全港抗爭即時地圖 (@hkmaplive) October 10, 2019

Apple’s option has been met with harsh criticism (alongside side from lawmakers), however Put collectively dinner’s email doesn’t provide any signal that the corporate is reconsidering. It within the starting up pulled HKmap.stay from the App Retailer earlier this month only to teach that the elimination became once a mistake. But after briefly restoring it, Apple pulled down the app again remaining evening and offered the reasoning that Put collectively dinner has now doubled down — with out offering any examples of unlawful incidents that HKmap.stay has helped facilitate.

As of now, the app continues to operate for these that possess already got it installed on their iPhones, however it completely can no longer be redownloaded from Apple.

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