Apple has once again taken down an iOS app aimed at helping Hong Kong protesters avoid police crackdowns in the troubled city. They went on to say they believed the App Store's initial rejection of HKmap.live was a bureaucratic matter, but that the latest removal was, "clearly a political decision to suppress freedom and human rights in #HongKong".
The app's developer insists that HKmap.live is created to help everyone stay safe and isn't specifically designed for protestors. China said the app was capable of pointing out the location of local police, enabling protesters in Hong Kong to attack them.
Hundreds of mask-wearing pro-democracy protesters yesterday marched through Hong Kong's central business district at lunchtime, occupying a main thoroughfare and disrupting traffic as the territory braced for another weekend of turmoil.
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".
Greater China is Apple's third-largest market in terms of revenue and has generating $52 billion-about a fifth of the company's total sales-during the past year.
They claimed that the law was further evidence of Hong Kong's slide into authoritarianism and raised fears about how China-which has sovereignty over the region-used facial recognition software in a pervasive surveillance network to track down dissenters.
Cook said Apple chose to pull the app after consulting with local law enforcement officials and concluding the app had played a role in ambushes of police.
No surprisingly, Apple and Cook have garnered criticism for the latest move, with USA lawmakers blasting the company for siding with an "authoritarian regime" and allowing oppression over freedom of expression.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has allegedly scrapped a meeting with U.S. senator Ted Cruz, the highest-profile American politician to visit the city since anti-government protests broke out more than four months ago.
In a Wednesday statement, Apple said that it had heard concerns about the app from many Hong Kong customers.
"It is now not any secret that expertise might per chance presumably presumably also furthermore be outdated-fashioned for correct or for ill".
"We came to protest against the mask law", a protester named Emily told Hong Kong Free Press. On its own, this information is benign.
She suspects that the commercial implications of defying the Chinese authorities were on the iPhone-maker's mind: "Probably they would see their products or marketing activities suspended in China". It's a responsibility that we take very seriously, and it's one that we aim to preserve.