Apple removes app that tracked Hong Kong police

SAN FRANCISCO – Apple unveiled an app Wednesday that allowed protesters in Hong Kong to track police, a day after facing intense criticism from Chinese state media for it, throwing the tech giant deeper into the increasingly politicized atmosphere in China. [19659002] Apple said it was removing the app, called, from its iPhone App Store just days after it was approved because Hong Kong authorities said protesters were using it to attack police there.

A day earlier, People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, published an editorial accusing Apple of helping "insurgents" in Hong Kong. "To let toxic software get its way is a betrayal of the Chinese people's feelings," said the article, which was written under a pseudonym, "Calming the Waves."

"The app shows police locations and we have confirmed 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 make residents victims in areas where they know there is no law enforcement, Apple said in a statement late Wednesday, "This app violates our policies and local laws."

Apple's return to the app comes amid the backdrop of intense Chinese government pressure on multinational companies to stay out of ongoing protests in Hong Kong, China canceled this week broadcasts of the NBA Games Exhibition in China after the Houston Rockets general manager tweeted in support of the protests.

Apple also removed the app after recently pulling the app to the US Quartz news organization from the App Store in China, Quartz has covered the Hong Kong protests.

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