Apple is under fire for removing a police-tracking app that Hong Kong protesters have been using.
This is only Apple’s latest action under pressure from China, but CEO Tim Cook is defending the company’s moves.
Police Tracker App Removed
Apple removed a smartphone app that allowed Hong Kong protesters to track police just a day after a Chinese state newspaper had criticized Apple for approving the app in the first place. It was also only recently that Apple also cut off China’s access to a news app that extensively covered the anti-government protests and made it difficult to look for the Taiwanese flag emoji in Hong Kong and Macau.
Naturally, the move angered Hong Kong users and democracy activists from all over the world, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has an explanation.
‘Technology Can Be Used For Good Or Ill’
In an internal Apple website, Cook defended the move to remove the police-tracker app, explaining that this is a case of technology being used both “for good and for ill.”
The company based its decision to remove the app on supposed credible information that the app was being abused by protesters. Specifically, they got word that some protesters used the app to target police officers and even victimize certain individuals or cause destruction to properties even when there is no police present.
According to Cook, the app was being used in violation of Hong Kong law as well as App Store Guidelines against personal harm, and the decision was the best move to protect its users.
China And Apple
Experts say that Apple’s moves show how much influence China has on major tech companies, particularly Apple which relies on the country for manufacturing its iPhones. China is also the third-largest market for iPhones after the United States and Europe, and amid the trade wars, Apple is said to be doing what it can to prevent China from retaliating after the Unites States places sanctions on Huawei.
While Apple’s moves have so far been successful in avoiding China’s retaliation, the United States is set to impose import duties on more consumer electronics, so only time will tell how much longer Apple can keep China’s anger at bay.