US lawmakers urge Apple CEO Tim Cook to reinstate HKmap Live app

Posted:
in iOS edited February 2020
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives have called for Apple to reinstate the controversial HKmap Live app, an iOS app allegedly relied upon by protestors in Hong Kong in their efforts against the Chinese government, by writing to Apple CEO Tim Cook.




The group of seven, including Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Marco Rubio, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, issued the letter to Tim Cook on Friday, urging him to restore access to the HKmap Live app in Hong Kong.

The letter, as reported by Reuters, refers to an app that was pulled from the App Store over supposed legality concerns on October 3. It was claimed the app was being used by protestors to evade the police, with the map used to show areas where law enforcement officials were located. Apple later reinstated the app, but this was criticized by the official Chinese state news publication "People's Daily" as an "unwise and reckless decision," alleging the app was aiding rioters to perform violent acts.

On October 10, Apple again pulled the app from the regional App Store. At the same time, Apple issued a statement distancing itself from the riots by claiming it violated store guidelines and local laws as it "has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement.

The letter refers to a quote by Cook in late 2018 where he said "At Apple, we are not afraid to say that our values drive our curation decisions," suggesting he could "imagine our disappointment" over the app's removal. "In the face of this brutal repression, tools like HKMap let peaceful demonstrators share locations to avoid and help to keep peaceful protestors out of harm's way."

"You ave said publicly that you want to work with China's leaders to effect change rather than sit on the sidelines and yell at them," the letter states. "We, too, believe that diplomacy and trade can be democratizing forces. But when a repressive government refuses to evolve or, indeed, when it doubles down, cooperation can become complicity."

The group has also contacted Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick over his company's decision to ban players who expressed support for the pro-democracy protests occurring in Hong Kong, including one player taking part in a live-streamed interview during a "Hearthstone" tournament.

ivanhsvanstrom
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,737member
    I can't stand China one bit.  China's policies and attitudes are the worst for global trade and intellectual property.  I can't think of anything better than its citizens to rise up once and for all and topple that government, Hong Kong being a prime example of the distrust its citizens have towards the Chinese government.

    That being said, our government should butt out about what Apple should do with its business in China.  We don't like it when China tries to tell us what to do, so neither should we.

    These politicians are only making a ruckus to ensure their re-election.  Nothing more.
    AppleExposedsteven n.SpamSandwichgeorgie01cy_starkmanjimh2ben20monstrosityivanhanantksundaram
  • Reply 2 of 73
    cat52cat52 Posts: 124member
    sflocal said:
    These politicians are only making a ruckus to ensure their re-election.  Nothing more.
    I bet the protestors in HK would beg to differ.

    While politicians do like to grandstand regarding all sorts of trivial matters, this is one example where speaking out can make a difference. So if Apple decides to swallow its moral compass, there is no harm in others reminding them to do the right thing. And if you really would like to see China's govt topple, then remaining silent and preserving the status quo isn't going to get it done.
    edited October 2019 Michael3357StrangeDayselijahgviclauyycivanhspice-boysvanstromh2pmontrosemacschemengin1
  • Reply 3 of 73
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,223member
    sflocal said:
    I can't stand China one bit.  China's policies and attitudes are the worst for global trade and intellectual property.  I can't think of anything better than its citizens to rise up once and for all and topple that government, Hong Kong being a prime example of the distrust its citizens have towards the Chinese government.

    That being said, our government should butt out about what Apple should do with its business in China.  We don't like it when China tries to tell us what to do, so neither should we.

    These politicians are only making a ruckus to ensure their re-election.  Nothing more.
    I agree with you fully on this. The thing most people miss is the protesters achieved their goal of blocking the extradition law and now they risk looking like basic anarchists. This will hurt in future protests since people won’t be able to relate to your grievance; people will simply assume you’re a malcontent. 
    monstrosityGeorgeBMacpembrokespice-boy
  • Reply 4 of 73
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,223member
    cat52 said:
    sflocal said:
    These politicians are only making a ruckus to ensure their re-election.  Nothing more.
    I bet the protestors in HK would beg to differ.

    While politicians do like to grandstand regarding all sorts of trivial matters, this is one example where speaking out can make a difference. So if Apple decides to swallow its moral compass, there is no harm in others reminding them to do the right thing. And if you really would like to see China's govt topple, then remaining silent and preserving the status quo isn't going to get it done.  

    Do you believe there is a single moral compass and anyone deviating from it is “immoral”?
  • Reply 5 of 73
    tzm41tzm41 Posts: 94member
    sflocal said:
    I can't think of anything better than its citizens to rise up once and for all and topple that government
    I bet most of the Chinese citizens would beg to differ. Their government isn't as bad as our media depicts it to be, and many are just perfectly fine with it.
    cy_starkmanben20muthuk_vanalingampembrokeprismaticsbb-15
  • Reply 6 of 73
    tzm41tzm41 Posts: 94member
    cat52 said:
    Apple decides to swallow its moral compass
    A world view model that always takes a black and white naive viewpoint on every matter doesn't work with real life issues. When cops' family and children get threaten to avoid work or school; when the public transit system gets smashed and burned every day causing it to shut down; when every public figure, businesses and restaurant, and even nameless citizens get boycott, vandalized, and humiliated if they don't vocally support the protestors' cause... You have to admit that the issue at hand is more complicated than "good people trying to fight against tyranny".
    muthuk_vanalingampembrokeravnorodom
  • Reply 7 of 73
    steven n. said:
    cat52 said:
    sflocal said:
    These politicians are only making a ruckus to ensure their re-election.  Nothing more.
    I bet the protestors in HK would beg to differ.

    While politicians do like to grandstand regarding all sorts of trivial matters, this is one example where speaking out can make a difference. So if Apple decides to swallow its moral compass, there is no harm in others reminding them to do the right thing. And if you really would like to see China's govt topple, then remaining silent and preserving the status quo isn't going to get it done.  

    Do you believe there is a single moral compass and anyone deviating from it is “immoral”?
    Chinese society has a long history of authoritarianism and the vast majority of their people don’t seem to mind this arrangement. If the Chinese people have thoughts about overthrowing their government, it’s not reflected in current attitudes.
    pembroke
  • Reply 8 of 73
    Dan_DilgerDan_Dilger Posts: 1,583member
    cat52 said:
    sflocal said:
    These politicians are only making a ruckus to ensure their re-election.  Nothing more.
    I bet the protestors in HK would beg to differ.

    While politicians do like to grandstand regarding all sorts of trivial matters, this is one example where speaking out can make a difference. So if Apple decides to swallow its moral compass, there is no harm in others reminding them to do the right thing. And if you really would like to see China's govt topple, then remaining silent and preserving the status quo isn't going to get it done.
    What nobody really mentions is that HKMap also exists as a web app, and that nobody depends on Apple having the "courage" or whatever to keep hosting this in the App Store. Also, the delisting has no effect on users who already downloaded the app. This is purely virtue signaling by politicians who are in no way capable to do anything about it, and who are also doing very little to address real problems right here in the USA.
    edited October 2019 muthuk_vanalingampembrokebeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 9 of 73
    If we are playing this card, then it better apply to everyone. Every company. Are they supporting China? Is Walmart? Can’t they protest the Chinese Govt? Should companies never follow requests from sovereign nations? Should they only if it’s a POV they support? 

    I honestly don’t know here. I think China is ridiculous. So paranoid they ban online chat they don’t like. Won’t allow open criticism etc. But at this point I’m not sure the US is a shining example of open, honest and representative political views.  But when do companies say enough is enough? The list of countries that are barbaric by western standards is long. How do we choose allies? Does Apple represent the US Govt or are they a private company? Should all companies follow US laws and sensibilities?
    I don’t know...I don’t think it’s as easy as just saying no to a request from any Govt agency. But maybe it is...
    muthuk_vanalingampembrokebb-15beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 10 of 73
    i guess said same politicians also support police tracking apps for relevant US cities so that african people can avoid harassment?

    i want an app that tracks people i don’t like so that i never have to run into them. same?
    pembroke
  • Reply 11 of 73
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    The US is falling apart in many ways and our moronic politicians are spending time on this nonsense? Let the Chinese figure out their own issues - if Chinese government says the app could be used to harm police officers (even communist police officers are human beings) than Apple did the right thing. If history teaches us anything, those that want to change policy will find a way - I don’t think they need a friggin app to do it.
    cy_starkmandewmeGeorgeBMacpembroke
  • Reply 12 of 73
    sflocal said:
    I can't stand China one bit.  China's policies and attitudes are the worst for global trade and intellectual property.  I can't think of anything better than its citizens to rise up once and for all and topple that government, Hong Kong being a prime example of the distrust its citizens have towards the Chinese government.

    That being said, our government should butt out about what Apple should do with its business in China.  We don't like it when China tries to tell us what to do, so neither should we.

    These politicians are only making a ruckus to ensure their re-election.  Nothing more.
    Agreed on that one...our Lawmakers should concentrate on our broken laws here in America. It’s not our Business on what China or Russia does to their government.....again we not a Police of the world. 
    cy_starkmanGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 13 of 73
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,472member
    sflocal said:
    I can't stand China one bit.  China's policies and attitudes are the worst for global trade and intellectual property.  I can't think of anything better than its citizens to rise up once and for all and topple that government, Hong Kong being a prime example of the distrust its citizens have towards the Chinese government.

    That being said, our government should butt out about what Apple should do with its business in China.  We don't like it when China tries to tell us what to do, so neither should we.

    These politicians are only making a ruckus to ensure their re-election.  Nothing more.
    Chinese citizens tried rising up. It was called Tiananmen Square and the army opened fire with automatic weapons and tanks, killing hundreds if not thousands of their fellow citizens. Do you think it would be any different today? Let’s also say Apple restores the Hong Kong app and the next day all of Apple’s suppliers are shut down. Then what?

    I’m not supporting or condemning Apple in this but when you are dealing with a totalitarian dictatorship that is willing to slaughter its own citizens to remain in power that's not something Apple is equipped to deal with. 
    cat52tmayelijahgmwhiteCloudTalkinyojimbo007cy_starkmanpembrokebb-15ktappe
  • Reply 14 of 73
    john f.john f. Posts: 108member
    steven n. said:
    The thing most people miss is the protesters achieved their goal of blocking the extradition law and now they risk looking like basic anarchists. This will hurt in future protests since people won’t be able to relate to your grievance; people will simply assume you’re a malcontent. 
    True. Right now, there is no end game. Where do protesters want to go with this? They got what they wanted, and weren't satisfied. Now China won't be willing to give in to anything, because it will be seen as useless. There is nowhere to go with this. Yes, Hong Kong was promised "One country, two systems" for 50 years, and China has been nibbling on that promise since the handover. But in the end, Hong Kong is China, and they can they whatever they want. There is no way for the west to intervene in this; it's their territory. And the people of Hong Kong can only ask so much. Go too far and China won't be lenient.

    And the app thing. The exact info is accessible on the web. Apple isn't really cutting people off from the info. This app discussion is just to make things political: should Apple or shouldn't Apple be a justice warrior? The thing is, Apple can do good things in many other ways. It doesn't always have to be this big "we must change this country now" thing, and "we must take a stand now". The people will eventually change China. And the west having good relations with China will over decades influence the people towards a more western attitude. If the people of China resent the west, then things will never change.

    pembroke
  • Reply 15 of 73
    cat52cat52 Posts: 124member
    lkrupp said:
    sflocal said:
    I can't stand China one bit.  China's policies and attitudes are the worst for global trade and intellectual property.  I can't think of anything better than its citizens to rise up once and for all and topple that government, Hong Kong being a prime example of the distrust its citizens have towards the Chinese government.

    That being said, our government should butt out about what Apple should do with its business in China.  We don't like it when China tries to tell us what to do, so neither should we.

    These politicians are only making a ruckus to ensure their re-election.  Nothing more.
    Chinese citizens tried rising up. It was called Tiananmen Square and the army opened fire with automatic weapons and tanks, killing hundreds if not thousands of their fellow citizens. Do you think it would be any different today? Let’s also say Apple restores the Hong Kong app and the next day all of Apple’s suppliers are shut down. Then what?

    I’m not supporting or condemning Apple in this but when you are dealing with a totalitarian dictatorship that is willing to slaughter its own citizens to remain in power that's not something Apple is equipped to deal with. 

    True, and all good points.

    So I think the only solution going forward is to divest from China, not unlike how the world divested from South Africa three decades ago.

    Otherwise American companies such as Apple or Nike will continue to look like hypocrites.  Talk is cheap, but when you follow the money, that's when you find out what someone's made of.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 73
    Hypocrites! Let's call the Russians to come in and meddle in US politics too.
    SpamSandwichmwhitedewmeGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 17 of 73
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,737member
    cat52 said:
    lkrupp said:
    sflocal said:
    I can't stand China one bit.  China's policies and attitudes are the worst for global trade and intellectual property.  I can't think of anything better than its citizens to rise up once and for all and topple that government, Hong Kong being a prime example of the distrust its citizens have towards the Chinese government.

    That being said, our government should butt out about what Apple should do with its business in China.  We don't like it when China tries to tell us what to do, so neither should we.

    These politicians are only making a ruckus to ensure their re-election.  Nothing more.
    Chinese citizens tried rising up. It was called Tiananmen Square and the army opened fire with automatic weapons and tanks, killing hundreds if not thousands of their fellow citizens. Do you think it would be any different today? Let’s also say Apple restores the Hong Kong app and the next day all of Apple’s suppliers are shut down. Then what?

    I’m not supporting or condemning Apple in this but when you are dealing with a totalitarian dictatorship that is willing to slaughter its own citizens to remain in power that's not something Apple is equipped to deal with. 

    True, and all good points.

    So I think the only solution going forward is to divest from China, not unlike how the world divested from South Africa three decades ago.

    Otherwise American companies such as Apple or Nike will continue to look like hypocrites.  Talk is cheap, but when you follow the money, that's when you find out what someone's made of.
    The only way China will get any hint is if its own citizens realize one day that enough is enough. If they're happy with the status quo, who are we to argue?  I think someday way beyond my lifetime there will come a day where the Chinese people topple their government.  Either way, it's up to the Chinese people, not any other country (including the U.S) to tell them what to do.  

    Hong Kong, for better or worse, will get figured out and by this time next year, it will all be a memory.

    I remember the Tiananmen Square incident.  It was my first moment of hope that China was going to get the hammer to the head, but as usual, China had the bigger hammer... for now.  Eventually, it will make a mistake.  
  • Reply 18 of 73
    It's called "engagement", folks. Tim Cook engages with China. He also engages with Donald Trump. He doesn't have to like either one. But engaging is a LOT better than not engaging. And second-guessing on how Apple should be engaged on this or any issue is best left to those who have all the facts.

    These individual congress-critters have a right to an opinion, but they so very often don't have all the facts. Heck, look at our President, who rarely sees a fact he isn't ready to ignore! Maybe they have good intentions, maybe they have an agenda. Doesn't matter. If you don't bring facts to the discussion, then your opinion is pretty much worthless, even if you are a congress-critter.
    FatmandewmeGeorgeBMacbb-15ktappe
  • Reply 19 of 73
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    The Hong Kong incidence is like a replay of the Iraq war. The US media, politicians engaged in a disinformation propaganda. Cruz went to Hong Kong and said he saw the protests are peaceful. Why US media won't show video of some protesters smashing store windows and subway equipment? And regarding the eighteen year old shot by police at close range, CBS 60 minutes showed only a short video when the police fired the gun. But there are video on internet showing the young man swing a iron stick at the police and hit his arm before he opened fire. If the media thinks this is irrelevant to the protests, why they don't dare to show to Americans? Because for the last 70 years US has engaged in a propaganda depicting communist China as bad. They cannot afford to show any good thing of China. Period. 
  • Reply 20 of 73
    Have you ever been to know or know Chinese people? Because if you have you would never say that Chinese people should rise up against their government. It’s the opposite in fact as general population is quite happy with the current system.
    tzm41
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