Apple has reportedly banned an app that allows Hong Kong protestors to track protests and police movements in the city state, despite increasing international condemnation against the violence used by the authorities.
"Your app contains content - or facilitates, enables, and encourages an activity - that is not legal ... specifically, the app allowed users to evade law enforcement," the American tech giant told makers of the HKmap Live on Tuesday before pulling it.
Opposition to the Chinese state and the Hong Kong authorities has grown louder, driven by an escalation in violence against protestors over the past week. On Wednesday, thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to denounce the shooting of an unarmed teenage student by police.
Tsang Chi-kin was shot in the chest at point-blank range on Tuesday. He remains in hospital in stable but critical condition after surgery to remove the bullet, which narrowly missed his heart.
The rise in police violence has led protesters to make use of digital networking and collaborative tools to organize street gatherings, with services like HKmap Live being used to help them avoid what they perceive as government-orchestrated attacks.
This isn't the first time Apple has acted to remove apps from the App Store to abide by Chinese law. In July 2017, Apple removed the majority of VPN apps from the App Store in China, following regulations passed earlier in the year that require such apps to be authorized by the Chinese government.
Update 1:19 p.m.: Apple is reviewing its decision to reject HKmap Live, reports Bloomberg, and is likely investigating whether the software violates local laws. It's not yet clear if the app will be re-added to the App Store and the developer has not yet received an update from Apple following the commencement of the new review.
Update October 4 10:39 a.m.: As reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has now approved HKmap Live.
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