Apple removed two apps from its Chinese App Store that were violating the laws of Hong Kong. On September 30, Apple issues a notice to the developers of the Quartz News App and now reportedly has removed the app from the App Store. Another app named HKMap.live was removed from its regional app store. Apple took this step by stating that both the apps were violating the laws of Hong Kong amid the protest in the country.
Apple always puts the security and privacy of the people on the top priority and that shouldn’t be harming the nation’s interest. The decision of removing these apps was taken in the interest of the Hong Kong government.
It has been eight months since the people of Hong Kong are protesting against the government for its extradition bill. So, Quartz, a new organization was covering all the reports of this protest in the country in depth and received a notice on September 30. According to Quartz, Apple’s email notice says the app is being removed “because it includes content that is illegal in China” but no specification about the content was given. But according to some reports, the news outlet provides its readers with how to access the block content using VPN services and bypassing government censorships.
Quartz said that its website is blocked in mainland China as well. CEO of the news organization, Zach Seward responded to the takedown of their app and stated: “We abhor this kind of government censorship of the internet.”
Two days ago Apple removed another app, HKmap.live from the Chinese app store. According to the Hong Kong government and some other reports, this app was used by the protestors to track the individual officers and to harm the property where no police protection was present. The app’s live map feature was presenting all the details around the country and live locations.
Several reports are criticizing Apple’s decision of removing the app but CEO of the company Tim Cook distributed an email to the company employees defending his decision. The developers of HKmap.live published the email in which Apple CEO had stated that the app’s features showing locations of police checkpoints and protest spots was not harmful. But he stated that Apple had received information from the Hong Kong government authorities that this app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present.” So this is how the app violated Hong Kong law and he also said that widespread abuse violated Apple’s App Store guidelines barring personal harm.
However, HKmap.live tweeted regarding the issue and said “We disagree with Apple and Hong Kong Police force’s claim that HKmap App endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong”
Well, for Apple, people’s security, safety, privacy, and government’s policies are always fundamental and Apple’s decision would be praised by the Chinese government. With such help, law enforcement officers would be able to do something to control the situations.