Apple rejected an app in Hong Kong that helped protesters track police activity
- The developer behind an app that helps people in Hong Kong keep track of police activity tweeted Tuesday that their application to Apple's App Store had been rejected on the grounds that it facilitated illegal activity.
- The makers of HKmap Live have appealed the decision and the application to the App Store is now underway again.
- Violence between protesters and police in Hong Kong has escalated recently, and an 18-year-old protester was shot in the chest on Tuesday.
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Apple has rejected an app designed to help people in Hong Kong navigate protests and police activity, according to the app's creator.
The app, HKMap Live, displays a crowdsourced map of the local area with alerts about protester activity and logos marking the location of police vehicles. According to developer Maciej Ceglowski, who is better known online as @Pinboard and currently in Hong Kong, said the app saves people's lives and allows them to dodge tear gas.On Wednesday, a Twitter account for HKMap Live announced that Apple had rejected its application to appear on the App Store, the only way for iPhone users to download the app.
HKMap Live tweeted: "Your app contains content - or facilitates, enables, and encourages an activity - that is not legal ... Specifically, the app allowed users to evade law enforcement." @Apple assume our user are lawbreakers and therefore evading law enforcement, which is clearly not the case."
The tweet caused outrage, and various outlets subsequently reported that Apple had "banned" the app. But on Thursday HKMap Live clarified that its app had never been available on the App Store to begin with.
"Clarification!!! We are never on the App Store, they rejected it during the review process. The process is resumed after recent appeal!" the developer wrote.
The app is currently available on the Android Play Store.Read more: Trump congratulated China's dictators while police brutally cracked down on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong
The appmaker speculated that the rejection was the result of a "bureaucratic f up" rather than deliberate censorship.
Addressing Apple's concerns that the app lets people avoid the police, the developer noted that the map shows people areas designated as "illegal assembly." Avoiding the area would, in fact, be lawful.
The Hong Kong pro-democracy protests have continued for more than 100 days. According to the New York Times, there have been more than 1,500 arrests.
Violence between protesters and police in Hong Kong has escalated considerably. On Tuesday Hong Kong police said protesters were throwing acid, and an 18-year-old protester was shot in the chest.
Apple was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.
"Your app contains content - or facilitates, enables, and encourages an activity - that is not legal ... Specifically, the app allowed users to evade law enforcement."@Apple assume our user are lawbreakers and therefore evading law enforcement, which is clearly not the case.- HKmap.live 全港抗爭即時地圖 (@hkmaplive) October 1, 2019