This is Niche Culture. In this column, we regularly cover anime, geek culture, and things related to video games. Please leave feedback and let us know if there’s something you want us to cover!
Apple have briefly banned HKmap Live from their App store- an app that Hong Kong protesters were using to avoid police.
The Hong Kong protests have been on-going since June, after fears of an extradition law bill to the Chinese mainland would be approved. The bill was eventually suspend and then withdrawn.
Protests continued after alleged brutality by Hong Kong police- including unprovoked attacks on unarmed protesters, closing police stations at night, as well as halting trains and opening doors so triad members could beat those on the train. Nearly every act of violence or injustice against protesters has only further fueled the protests.
Due to the alleged police brutality, protesters had taken to using apps to evade them, including HKmap Live. The app was designed for navigation around Hong Kong, including traffic jams and where you could find police if you needed them.
On October 1st, the service posted this message on Twitter, quoting a message received from Apple:
” “Your app contains content – or facilitates, enables, and encourages an activity – that is not legal … Specifically, the app allowed users to evade law enforcement.” @Apple assume our user are lawbreakers and therefore evading law enforcement, which is clearly not the case.”
Later the service tweeted they felt the situation was “more bureaucratic f up than censorship. Everything can be used for illegal purpose on the wrong hand. Our App is for info, and we do not encourage illegal activity.”
The decision was reversed on October 3rd, as reported by Bloomberg.
Editor’s Note: Featured image via Getty