Cook Caves To China: Apple Deletes Police-Tracking App Used In Hong Kong Protests

Update (3:00 pm est.): Pinboard has shared an internal email from Tim Cook to employees defending his decision to remove 

HKmap.live, the app that tracks Hong Kong Police officers. 

Charles Mok, an IT legislator in Hong Kong, tweeted his letter to Cook about his disappointment in Apple Hong Kong for banning HKmap.live from the App Store. At the of the letter, he said: "We Hongkongers will definitely look closely at whether Apple chooses to uphold its commitment to free and other basic human rights, or become an accomplice for Chinese censorship and oppression." 

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More violent protests are expected in Hong Kong this weekend. 

Shopping malls, restaurants, and the city's metro have already made emergency plans to close early. The violent unrest could start with-in the next 24 hours.

To avoid conversely, due to if a Hong Kong Police Force and or People's Liberation Army Hong Kong personnel is severely injured or dies in the unrest, Apple has swiftly removed a police-tracking app from the App Store, reported Reuters.

The app, called HKmap.live, has been widely used by protestors to crowdsource real-time locations of law enforcement personnel in Hong Kong. Demonstrators have also used the app to stage elaborate counterattack operations and ambush attacks on government personnel. 

We noted yesterday how, on late Tuesday night, China's official newspaper, the People's Daily, criticized Apple for allowing the app to remain in the App store. 

The paper said Apple has "betrayed the feelings of the Chinese people" by approving the app. 

The People's Daily said Apple shouldn't provide apps to people conducting illegal activities [protestors], and it also questioned whether the US technology company was "thinking clearly" during the app approval process. 

"The developers of the map app had not hidden their malicious motive in providing 'navigation' for the rioters," The People's Daily wrote. "Apple chose to approve the app in the App Store in Hong Kong at this point. Does this mean Apple intended to be an accomplice to the rioters?"

Apple, who caved into the demands of the Chinese government by removing the app, issued a statement that said it started investigating the app's use and discovered it "has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong." 

"The app displays police locations and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the 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," the statement said.

The political crisis intensified last weekend when protestors took to the streets on Saturday and Sunday. Upcoming protests this weekend are expected to be equally as dangerous as last. 

Besides Apple, China has put several other American companies into its crosshairs this week for their support of protestors, and one of those companies has been the NBA.