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.


Police free CNN reporter arrested live on TV covering Minneapolis protests

Updated 29 May 2020

Police free CNN reporter arrested live on TV covering Minneapolis protests

  • Omar Jimenez had just shown a protester being arrested when about half a dozen police officers in gas masks surrounded him
  • Thursday marked a third night of arson, looting and vandalism in Minnesota State over the death of George Floyd while in police custody

WASHINGTON: Police in Minneapolis released a CNN reporter who was led off in handcuffs along with his film crew while reporting live on television early Friday morning during violent protests in the city.
Officers gave no explanation as they escorted reporter Omar Jimenez away. He had just shown a protester being arrested when about half a dozen police officers in gas masks surrounded him. More than an hour later, the crew was released.
“What gave me one bit of comfort was that it happened on live TV,” Jimenez told viewers after he was released. “You don’t have to doubt my story it’s not filtered in any way; you saw it with your own eyes.”
The striking footage of the arrest could add to racial tension in the city and across the country, where sympathy protests have taken place. Jimenez is black, while most of the police officers who arrested him appeared to be white.
Thursday marked a third night of arson, looting and vandalism in Minnesota over the death of a black man, George Floyd, seen on video gasping for breath while a white police officer knelt on his neck.
“A CNN reporter and his production team were arrested this morning in Minneapolis for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves — a clear violation of their First Amendment rights. The authorities in Minnesota, including the governor, must release the three CNN employees immediately,” CNN wrote on Twitter before the crew were released.
CNN anchor John Berman told viewers about an hour after the arrest that CNN President Adam Zucker had spoken with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, who said he “deeply apologizes” and was working to have the crew released immediately.
Jimenez said the crew had been standing on a street for about an hour and a half before police activity kicked up. They moved onto a corner to get out of the way, he said.
On air, Jimenez told the officers wearing gas masks and face shields that he wanted to know where to move to get out of their way and explained he was a member of the press.
“This is among the state patrol unit that was advancing up the street, seeing and scattering the protesters at that point for people to clear the area. And so we walked away,” Jimenez said before being told he was under arrest and handcuffed by two officers. “Why am I under arrest, sir?“
Walz, expected to have a press conference later on Friday, has declared a state of emergency in Minnesota and ordered the National Guard activated. President Donald Trump suggested in a tweet that looters would be shot. Twitter hid Trump’s tweet with a warning for “glorifying violence.”
Protests also erupted in other major cities around the country, including Louisville, Kentucky, where police said seven people had been shot.