Apple pulls HKmap.live from app store

Cupertino joins the likes of the NBA and Blizzard in kowtowing to Beijing.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

After initially dragging its feet in approving HKmap.live into its app store, the iPhone maker has abruptly reversed course and removed it.

HKmap.live tweeted on Thursday afternoon that its app had been pulled by Apple.

"We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place to discover apps. We have learned that your app has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong," HKmap.live said.

Further tweets claimed Apple said it had many complaints about the app in Hong Kong, which it reportedly said was used to ambush police.

"There is 0 evidence to support CSTCB's [Hong Kong Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau] accusation that [the] HKmap App has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement," HKmap.live later tweeted.

"The majority of user review in App Store that suggest HKmap IMPROVED public safety, not the opposite."

See: China has Apple by the iPhones

The app is still available on the Google Play Store, and thankfully it is viewable to all and sundry through its web site.

HKmap.live crowdsources information to allow people in Hong Kong to know where police are active.

Apple now joins the ranks of Blizzard and the National Basketball Association (NBA) in bowing down to Beijing's demands this week.

On Tuesday, Blizzard took back its prize money and suspended Heartstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai after he expressed support for Hong Kong.

Blizzard is part-owned by Chinese giant Tencent.

Since the weekend, the NBA has found itself in hot water with China after the general manager of the Houston Rockets tweeted his support for the Hong Kong protests.

In retaliation, the league's preseason games will not be shown in the Middle Kingdom.

On Tuesday night, a Philadelphia 76ers fan was removed after showing support for Hong Kong.

Apple makes around $3 billion in revenue from China each month.

Two years ago Apple ripped the VPN apps from its Chinese app store.

Updated at 4.01pm AEDT, 10 October 2019: Additional comment from HKmap.live.

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