Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has decided to remove a police-tracking app that many Hong Kong protesters have been using to track police movement throughout the city, according to CNN.
Amid escalating tensions, Apple has removed HKmap.live from its App Store after receiving numerous complaints, according to the Company. Apple noted that the app was used in ways that endangered both law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong.
“The app displays police locations and we have verified with [Hong Kong authorities] 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,” Apple said in an emailed response to CNN Business.
“This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store,” it added.
In response, HKmap.live tweeted saying it disagrees with Apple’s statements claiming that the app solicits, promotes, or encourages criminal activity. In a later tweet, HKmap.live said the app has improved public safety, instead of promoting criminal activities.
Moreover, HKmap.live said that Apple’s move “is clearly a political decision to suppress freedom and human rights in Hong Kong.”
Apple’s decision to remove the app came shortly after Chinese media slammed the Company for allowing Hong Kong residents to download it.
The official newspaper of China’s Communist Party accused Apple of assisting rioters by helping them navigate through the protests using the app. Additionally, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said that the app threatens the safety of Hong Kong people’s lives and properties.
As the protests continue to rage on in Hong Kong, Apple has been caught up with numerous other American companies doing business in China.
The National Basketball Association has come into scrutiny after Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey tweeted his support for the Hong Kong protests, which led the NBA’s official Chinese partners to suspend its relationship with the league.
Blizzard has also come under fire after banning professional eSports player, Blitzchung. Blitzchung or Chung Ng Wai was participating in a Hearthstone tournament. During a post-game interview, Chung voiced his support for Hong Kong.
Blizzard immediately responded to the actions and retracted Chung’s prize money and banned him from participating in tournaments for the next year. Additionally, Blizzard also took down videos of the interview.