HKmap.live, a crowdsourced mapping app used by Hong Kong protesters to navigate the city, avoid the police and keep informed of road closures has been removed from the Apple’s App Store following criticism from Chinese media. The controversial app was said to threaten public security, encourage criminal activity and hurt Chinese people’s feelings.
Apple made an official statement following the removal:
“We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place to discover apps. We have learned that an app, HKmap.live, has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong. Many concerned customers in Hong Kong have contacted us about this app and we immediately began investigating it. The app displays police locations and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement. This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store.”
Interestingly, the app initially failed to make it onto the App Store. It was rejected by Apple, who, however, soon changed their decision only to reverse it again.
The developers also spoke up, saying that their only aim was to consolidate information from users and public sources with no intent to cause public distress.