Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Apple Bans Hong Kong Safety Map

Update (written on 10/9/2019):

Apple has now approved the application. Reportedly it has quickly become the best selling app in Hong Kong. The People's Daily newspaper is not happy with the decision. It has called the approval of as "unwise" and "imprudent". The newspaper has also ominously warned that the decision would "draw more turbulence", which suggests that Apple's interests in China could potentially come under threat.

Update to the Update (written on 10/10/2019):

Apple has once again bowed to pressure from the Chinese government and has once again banned the application. Apple says that "the app has been used to ... victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement". Obviously Apple has no way of knowing if this is true or not and must have been told that this is the case by the Chinese authorities. The Chinese authorities have their own reasons for wanting to stop Hong Kong residents from using We can only guess at why Apple has taken this move to hamper pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The following was written on 10/2/2019 (after Apple initially refused approval to

Apple has banned an application which helps people in Hong Kong comply with police restrictions. By banning the interactive map Apple are denying help to citizens who wish to avoid locations in Hong Kong that are currently experiencing dangerous clashes between the police and pro-democracy demonstrators. is a crowdsourced map which reports the live position of the police in Hong Kong. On the map different emojis are used to show the location of the police across the city. Registered users can use the Telegram messaging application to report locations where the police are currently using violence against protesters. The application is used widely by Hong Kong residents who wish to avoid inadvertently wandering into violent situations.

Last night 104 people were hospitalized by the Hong Kong police. The map can help citizens in Hong Kong from accidentally wandering into areas which have been flagged by the police for illegal assembly. The map also provides warnings about such things as the police firing tear gas in residential areas.

I'm sure Apple do not want Hong Kong residents to accidentally wander into violent situations and that they have not banned this map because they care more about losing business in China than the safety of innocent people. Presumably this is just an innocent mistake by Apple and the decision will soon be reversed.

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