Apple removes police-tracking app used in Hong Kong protests from its app store

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Apple said the smartphone app HKmap.live has been used to target and ambush police. (AFP)
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The Apple app HKmap.live uses crowdsourced information to track Hong Kong police movements, traffic and protests. (AP)
Updated 10 October 2019

Apple removes police-tracking app used in Hong Kong protests from its app store

  • Crowdsourcing app HKmap.live violated rules because it was used to ambush police and by criminals
  • Apple: ‘Many concerned customers in Hong Kong’ contacted the company about the mapping app

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple on Wednesday removed an app that protesters in Hong Kong have used to track police movements, saying the app violated its rules because it was used to ambush police and by criminals who used it to victimize residents in areas with no law enforcement.
Apple rejected the crowdsourcing app, HKmap.live, earlier this month but then reversed course last week, allowing the app to appear on its App Store. The approval drew a sharply worded commentary criticizing Apple in the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily.
Apple said in a statement that “many concerned customers in Hong Kong” contacted the company about the mapping app. Apple said it immediately began investigating the app’s use and found 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.
Under Apple’s rules and policies, apps that meet its standards to appear in the App Store have sometimes been removed after their release if they were found to facilitate illegal activity or threaten public safety.
In 2011, Apple modified its app store to remove apps that listed locations for drunken driving checkpoints not previously published by law enforcement officials.


The most visible brands of 2020 are…

Updated 03 July 2020

The most visible brands of 2020 are…

  • A large percentage of the pictures of the swoosh logo depicted international football players Neymar, of Brazil, and Argentinian star Lionel Messi
  • Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the top-photographed people in Adidas clothing

DUBAI: A strong visual element is a must-have for brands. Many of the world’s iconic brands can be recognized simply by their visual imagery from Nike’s swoosh to McDonald’s golden arches.

Today, every smartphone user is a photographer in some form resulting in more and more visual elements in social and digital conversations.

With this in mind, research and analysis company Brandwatch conducted a study of 40 million images containing logos to find the most photographed brands.

“For brands, the images consumers share provide a window into how their products or advertisements are seen in the wild – how they’re used, the context they appear in, and more,” the firm’s report said.

In fact, only 14.7 percent of the images studied featuring the most visible logo of 2020 actually mentioned the brand in the accompanying text.

“Being able to analyze images effectively, especially when there is so much that could be missed in traditional text-based searches, is vital to uncovering previously hidden insights,” the report added.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi sporting Barcelona’s Nike strip. (Reuters)

Nike: Brandwatch’s analysis found that a large percentage of the pictures of the logo depicted international football players Neymar, of Brazil, and Argentinian star Lionel Messi wearing Nike attire.

Although the logo appeared in numerous images of people practicing fitness in some form, there were thousands of images of individuals posing in relaxed positions wearing Nike clothes.

Despite empty stadiums and social-distancing measures in place this year, the most common setting for the logo to be featured in was an arena.

People appeared most in Nike logo images, but sneakers shoes also brought in thousands of mentions.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo sporting Juventus’ Adidas strip. (Reuters)

Adidas: Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the top-photographed people in Adidas clothing, if not in the whole world.

Similar to Nike, arenas and crowds were common in Adidas logo images, which was surprising given the lack of crowds in the last few months.

“Something unexpected that pops up in the top scenes is romance, referring to people in athleisure embracing each other (in an SFW sense) or in other cute settings,” said the report.

Unlike Nike, images featuring the Adidas logo largely showed sports activities. “Speech is an unexpected addition to the list of common actions associated with Adidas logo images – these mentions actually come from quotes posted from soccer player Marcus Rashford (Manchester United and England), who has spoken out about making sure vulnerable children don’t go hungry in 2020,” added the report.

Similar to Nike’s analysis, people were the most common subject to appear in Adidas logo images. T-shirts were also widely shared, unlike Nike images which featured shoes and sneakers a lot more.