, 20 tweets, 13 min read
So @hkmaplive has shared what purports to be an internal email from Tim Cook to Apple employees. As a user of the app, and an observer of the Hong Kong protests, I would like to address two serious allegations in this email that I believe are false. pastebin.com/dFyftCuZ
@hkmaplive The first allegation is that "the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence". This makes no sense at all. The app does not show the locations of individual officers at all. It shows general concentrations of police units, with a significant lag.
@hkmaplive As the developer and @charlesmok, a Hong Kong legislator, have pointed out, the app aggregates reports from Telegram, Facebook and other sources. It beggars belief that a campaign to target individual officers would use a world-readable crowdsourcing format like this.
@hkmaplive @charlesmok Moreover, what are these incidents where protesters have targeted individual police for a premeditated attack? Can Mr. Cook point to a single example? Can anyone?
@hkmaplive @charlesmok When Hong Kong police have been in danger, it is invariably because they broke off in small groups into a sea of demonstrators and got separated from their colleagues. I witnessed this personally in Prince Edward on 9/2; many others have seen or videotaped similar situations.
@hkmaplive @charlesmok So not only is there no evidence for this claim, but it goes against the documentary record of 18 weeks of protests, and is not even possible given the technical constraints of the app (which tracks groups of police).
@hkmaplive @charlesmok The second, related allegation is that the app helps "victimize individuals and property where no police are present". Again, does Mr. Cook have any evidence for this claim? The app does not show an absence of police, it shows concentrations of police, tear gas, riot flags etc.
@hkmaplive @charlesmok The Hong Kong police force is 30,000 strong, one of the biggest police to population ratios in Asia. They do not lack the manpower to patrol a city of 7 million. Rather, they are abundantly present and harass, detain, search and arbitrarily arrest people without warning.
@hkmaplive @charlesmok Mr. Cook says the app is "in violation of Hong Kong law," but neither he or anyone else at Apple has specified which law this is. At a press conference today, Hong Kong authorities didn't know either, and deferred all questions on the matter to Apple.
@hkmaplive @charlesmok (I have just heard from Apple employees who confirm this email from Mr. Cook is genuine)
@hkmaplive @charlesmok So the question is, who did Apple talk to? We have a Hong Kong legislator telling Mr. Cook his facts are wrong, the app developer doing the same, and the Hong Kong authorities professing ignorance of the matter. What other technologies will Apple disable in Hong Kong on hearsay?
@hkmaplive @charlesmok I tweeted an example earlier of Hong Kongers using anonymous AirDrop to coordinate a protest the day the day after police shot a high schooler. If the police tell Mr. Cook to shut the feature down, will he do that too?
@hkmaplive @charlesmok Mr. Cook owes his employees a truthful explanation of why Apple chose to ban this app. At best, he has taken the words of the hostile police force the app is designed to protect people from at face value, without checking his facts. At worst, he's not interested in the facts.
@hkmaplive @charlesmok But Mr. Cook also owes an explanation to the people of Hong Kong who are marching in the millions to fight for values he claims to profess. I urge Mr. Cook to come to Hong Kong and meet with Mr. Mok, with first aiders, young demonstrators, and see the situation for himself.
@hkmaplive @charlesmok Mr. Cook has famously defended controversial decisions like his ongoing engagement with authoritarian rulers in China, or his dinners with President Trump, by saing "the sidelines are not a successful place to be... the way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena."
@hkmaplive @charlesmok This is a chance for Mr. Cook to make amends by stepping into the arena. He would be warmly welcomed in Hong Kong, he would have a chance to see with his own eyes what is happening here, and he would leave perhaps more in touch with the values that Apple still claims to uphold.
@hkmaplive @charlesmok To Apple employees, I will just say: look at the numbers. Over two thousand arrests since June, thousands injured (including people who were not hurt at the time of arrest), many alleging sexually assault by the police. Children as young as 11 put in the hospital. Two kids shot.
@hkmaplive @charlesmok Multiple thousands of rounds of tear gas fired in densely populated residential areas, including hundreds at a time in a single night. Kids taken from parents and put in foster care as punishment for demonstrating. It's pretty clear who needs protecting from whom in Hong Kong
@hkmaplive @charlesmok Finally, I offer my sincerest condolences to @waze, which unlike HKmap is an app specifically intended for evading law enforcement, and which by Mr. Cook's logic must therefore brace itself for imminent removal from the App Store
@hkmaplive @charlesmok @waze The developer of @HKmaplive has a detailed rebuttal to Mr. Cook's allegations that is worth reading in full
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