The Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Tim Cook, defended the decision made by the tech giant in removing the controversial mapping app which is used by Hong Kong protesters to warn each other of streets and locations where there is police presence, saying that it was being used by the protesters “to target police officers.”
The tech giant was chastised for removing the HKmap.live from the iOS App Store. Many slammed the decision made by Apple, saying that it has taken the side of the police “at face value” without investigating if their claims are valid. Others even said that the claims of the police officers do not coincide with the observations made by spectators on the ground.
In a letter sent by Tim Cook to Apple employees, the CEO defended the decisions saying that “these decisions are never easy, and it is harder still to discuss these topics during moments of furious public debate. 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.”
“It is no secret that technology can be used for good or for ill. This case is no different. The app in question allowed for the crowdsourced reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, protest hotspots, and other information. On its own, this information is benign,” Cook added.
Cook said that Apple had received “credible” information from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau and from other users in Hong Kong that the said app was “maliciously” used by protesters to target police officers specifically.
“However, over the past several days we received credible information, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present. This use put the app in violation of Hong Kong law,” he added.