Tim Cook defends decision to remove Hong Kong mapping app

Riot police patrol near the police station in Tsim Sha Tsui district in Hong Kong China

Riot police patrol near the police station in Tsim Sha Tsui district in Hong Kong China

Some lawmakers wore black masks as they sat in the chamber, while others carried placards reading: "Police brutality still exists, how can we have a meeting?"

"Putting profits above the human rights and dignity of the people of Hong Kong is wrong. No ifs, ands or buts about it". "This case is no different", continued Cook, who mentioned that the HKmap.live app allowed "crowdsourced reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, protest hotspots, and other information".

"It's out of my great respect for the work you do every day that I want to share the way we went about making this decision", he wrote. "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 victimise residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement".

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have been out in full force since June, when a controversial extradition bill was first introduced that would have made it easier for the Chinese government to extract so-called criminals from Hong Kong. This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store.

On Twitter, an account believed to be owned by the HKmap.live app's developer said there is no evidence to support the Hong Kong police's claims via Apple that the app had been used in ambushes.

The makers of HKmap.live have countered that the app gathers information from users, social networks and news outlets to show where police have gathered, not where they aren't.

Google found itself at the business end of a firestorm of criticism when news leaked that it was working on a special, censored, search engine for the Chinese market. The company did not immediately respond to a Gizmodo request for further confirmation or comment. "Apple has to think of the consequences of its unwide and reckless decision".

The American league is facing a ferocious backlash in China after Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey tweeted support for the Hong Kong protests.

"Whilst we may not be able to fight alongside the young protesters in the frontline against an unjust government, escalating police violence and indiscriminate arrests, we take it to heart to uphold the core values of Hong Kong and defend the future of our younger generations", it said in a statement. The app's anonymous author says it's meant to help people in Hong Kong stay safe by avoiding potentially risky areas. Chinese tech giant Tencent owns a 5 percent stake in Blizzard's parent company, Activision Blizzard.

In Apple's case that means revenues that are on course to exceed $40bn this year - nearly a fifth of the firm's total global sales. The firm has 10,000 direct employees in the firm; the economy around Apple's presence in China is responsible for around 5m jobs.

What happens next depends on the extent to which China feels its hardline stance is working - and there are indications officials are becoming wary.

A Google spokesman said "The Revolution Of Our Times" app recently pulled from its app store, which lets users role play as Hong Kong protesters, violated a long-standing policy "prohibiting developers from capitalizing on sensitive events, such as attempting to make money from serious ongoing conflicts or tragedies through a game".

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