Apple Has Banned an App That Allows People in Hong Kong to Keep Track of Police Activities and Protests

More than often technology comes to help during troubled times. In protest hit Hong Kong things are no different. Apple has rejected an app that helps people avoid police and other authorities. The app was rejected from App Store and HKmap.live(developer of the app) has listed the reason given by Apple in a tweet.

As per report by The Register,

The sole purpose of HKmap Live is to track police activity on the streets of Hong Kong and not to help people navigate to other locations. For example, at the time of writing – 0300 Hong Kong time – there are only a few messages live but they are clearly intended to provide ongoing intelligence on police movements.

After the tear gas was applied, the police officer immediately returned to the police station,” reads one. “Four flashing lights parked at the police station door,” says another. Another simply reads: “Riot.” It is extremely easy to see at a glance where police activity is concentrated given the combination of messages and precise GPS locations.

But local Hong Kong citizens have highlighted a quirk of local laws that provide a strong counter-argument: under the law, the Hong Kong police are obliged to wave a blue flag at the spot in which they which to declare that an illegal gathering is taking place.

Our Take

Hong Kong protest started in June this year and the bone of contention is a proposal that allows criminals to be extradited to mainland China. Protesters are of the opinion that this move will shake the foundation of Hong Kong’s judicial system which is currently independent in nature. Recent reports claim that one demonstrator has been shot while tear gas and water cannons are being used to tackle the protestors.

In this case, we are not sure whether Apple is following the local laws or is considering US laws to block the app. The developers argue that the web app is similar to Waze and by Apple’s logic even Waze should be pulled down from the App Store.

[via The Register]