Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to employees on October 10, defending the company’s decision to remove HKmap.live from the App Store used by Hong Kong protesters to coordinate protests.
According to The Verge‘s copy of the email, misuse of the app “put the app in violation of Hong Kong law.”
“Similarly, widespread abuse clearly violates our App Store guidelines barring personal harm,” said Cook.
Cook claimed that the app “allowed for the crowd sourced reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, protest hotspots, and other information.”
He also mentioned that “Apple received credible information from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as well as from users in Hong Kong.” However, no specifics on how the app was used to target individual police officers were revealed in the email.
HKmap.live’s developers responded to Apple’s decision that the app never solicits, promotes, or encourages criminal activity and it consolidates information from user and public sources like live news streams, Facebook and Telegram.
Cook’s email shows that Apple has no intention to restore the app. “In this case, we thoroughly reviewed them, and we believe this decision best protects our users,” Cook said.