Ted Cruz, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among U.S. lawmakers urging Apple to restore Hong Kong police activity tracking app

First Apple pulled the HKmap Live app. Then they reinstated it. Then China criticized Apple, warning of “consequences,” so Apple CEO Tim Cook quickly kowtowed and pulled it again. Now a group of seven U.S. lawmakers including the unlikely duo of Senator Ted Cruz and Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are expressing “strong concern” over Apple’s servile willingness to ask “how high?” every time China demands they jump in order to curtail speech. The lawmakers warn Apple CEO Cook that “cooperation can become complicity.”

David Shepardson for Reuters:

A bipartisan group of seven U.S. lawmakers including Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Wyden and Marco Rubio and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday urged Apple Inc Chief executive Tim Cook to restore the HKMap app used in Hong Kong.

MacDailyNews Note: Here is the letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook from U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and U.S. House members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mike Gallagher, and Tom Malinowski:

Letter from U.S. Congress to Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding actions in Hong Kong


  1. Tim Cook is a spineless embarrassment who talks a big game when he’s safe and sound, but goes to China and can’t prostrate himself quickly enough to his Chinese masters in the name of the almighty dollar.

    1. Says he, spinelessly principled, cosy in your safe-space ArmchairCEO™️ basement with zero chance of ever having to make a ‘bet_the_farm’ decision with $Trillions at stake.

  2. This is a case like demanding a perfectly safe backdoor for encryption that will allow easy access with a lawful judicial warrant that meets stringent US Fourth Amendment standards but reliably prevents access by criminals, spies, and authoritarian governments. Some demands are simply impossible to grant, not because of a failure of will but because of the nature of reality.

    These respectively right- and left-wing demagogues expect Apple to provide access to an app through the Great Firewall of China. The Chinese (including the Hong Kong authorities) may not be able to block a single app, but they can certainly block access to the entire App Store. If Apple persists in offering an app that China considers illegal, that is exactly what they will do. The users of the original app will be no better off, but every other iOS and iPadOS user in China will be out of luck, too.

    This is like the Keystone Kops deciding to end a hostage situation by shooting the hostages.

    1. Demagoguery is an implicit aspect of ultra partisan politics and… being devoid of any chance of actually having to ‘deliver’ on said statements, is actually ‘real’ virtue-signalling versus the fake accusations ‘trumped-up’ here(the usual suspects) against Tim Cook when he delivers on company policy.
      The irony is delicious and MDN delivers every time.

  3. The leaders in Hong Kong and about 200,000 people will need new homes once the Chinese crack down and put a end to it, and same will apply to Russian protest leaders in the recent protests there, I hope they are united in giving help to the displaced. There is nothing Apple can do for them in China, they were doomed in 1999.

  4. As strange as it is and don’t agree with all the politics of all the document signers, I fully applaud and appreciate a RARE act of bipartisanship. We need much more of that I politics today…

    1. Then I am sure you are thrilled by the overwhelming bipartisan vote to condemn the craven betrayal of our allies in Syria.

      To repeat the question that several of us here have been asking for days: What do you think that Apple could possibly do that would make this app available in Hong Kong if the Chinese government wants it unavailable? The choice for Apple is not whether this app will be available. It won’t. China has the power (though not the right) to ensure that. The choice for Apple is whether it will comply with Chinese law or have its Chinese operations shut down as a criminal enterprise. If there is a third alternative, one of you stable geniuses needs to point it out to Tim Cook and all us other ignorant folk.

      1. “Then I am sure you are thrilled by the overwhelming bipartisan vote to condemn the craven betrayal of our allies in Syria.”

        The president is not concerned and since you wrote the above he has switched gears several times, keeping some troops, V.P. brokering a peace deal and the situation is evolving and he can change his mind on a dime. Good luck pinning him down to mock him with a blanket insult.

        So it proves your statement is not exactly accurate and we know you are only interested in snidely putting down President Trump as payback because your Hillary did not win. Boo hoo.

        To hell with the App it’s dead. Beancounter spineless Cook needs to grow a pair and speak out FORCEFULLY against the injustice and censorship in China and throw his support behind the Hong Kong people!!!

        Never happen from the SJW HYPOCRITE that only practices virtue signaling in countries that need it least like the USA, and MIA in countries that need it most China topping the list. GRANDE HYPOCRITE! Nuff said…

      1. Thanks to me, “sycophant” is your favorite word. Look in the mirror. 😆

        Yes, i’ll take “virtual signaling” bipartisanship over ZERO bipartisanship every time…

  5. US Lawmakers say:

    “Let’s Go Fight this War!!! …… Apple YOU FIRST! ….. we’ll be riiiiight behind you. waaaaay way behind…. “

    Politicians should declare “ we’ll protest Against China by mass resignations! We’ll shut our offices and quit our jobs if China doesn’t kowtow to us !” (Of course the chinese government would laugh at that threat)

    But that is almost what they are asking Apple (which is not a political entity BTW) to do. If Apple refused to follow chinese law the Chinese Government would just shut the App store and maybe Apple sales down and the app will still be gone.

    Politicians are way eager to Sacrifice the Other Guy. Especially with no risk to themselves

  6. Uighers are disgruntled and China considers them and gov. critics terrorists so it is enslaving, raping, torturing (pulling out fingernails, etc), severely undernurishing, and medically experimenting on them inside newly built concentration camps and buildings whose rooms are equipped with cameras one on each corner and one on the ceiling center.

    Of course China is terrified of freedom of information apps.

    1. the European Unipn has dozens of concentration camps on the North African Coat housing half a million or more migrants. The EU funds Libyan and other warlords to intercept and incarcerate African migrant boats. in the camps which include women and children inmates are routinely abused and gang raped. Some have been there for years. The EU spends millions of dollars funding this and equips the warlords with patrol boats and modern weapons.

      “ For the past six months I’ve been in daily contact with detainees in nine different detention centres who use hidden phones to reveal what’s going on at huge risk to themselves. EU leaders continue to promote the idea that arrivals in Europe and deaths at sea are dropping. But what about the untold suffering of thousands of men, women, and children, whom the EU has effectively turned away?

      They speak of going days without food and of drinking toilet water to survive. Some have stopped speaking, forgotten their families, sit crouched in a corner and wet themselves from trauma, according to witnesses. Couples are separated – some of the roughly 640 detained children are held with their mothers, though those over 14 are kept in adult cells. In one centre, Triq al Sikka, infected detainees are locked with others in a dark room and have been repeatedly left without tuberculosis medication, in one case for more than a month. In October, a 28-year-old Somali set himself on fire there after saying he saw no other way out.”

      “EU support for Libya contributes to ‘extreme abuse’ of refugees, says study

      In early January dozens of refugees and migrants, brought by the coastguard to the Libyan port city of Khoms, were forced back to smugglers by Libyan guards in Souq al-Khamis detention centre. They now risk torture if they can’t raise an the $5,000 ransom that has already been demanded.“

      (. (

      Not saying China is great but it’s racist and hypocritical when people complain about China and refuse to see this other stuff.

      For one article about European etc abuse there is 1000 on the Uighur

      1. read my post above

        I’m only scratching the surface

        with the reality of EU abuse for years we got
        all the comments by Americans and their politicians in social media about “don’t do business in China” etc and the protests

        but with hundreds of thousands of people being raped and tortured and starved in EU camps i’ve not heard of ONE not one …. ‘lets don’t do business with EU protest”

        you cannot explain it except by gross hypocrisy and racism

      2. EU has “…dozens of concentration camps on the North African coast”
        What a bizarre and verifiably stupid lie.
        It’s certainly true that since the EU’s policy change aimed at preventing many hundreds of sea deaths, some refugee camps have been targeted by the same tribal gang leaders who created many of the Libyan human rights abuses in the first place.
        The sub Saharan region of African countries, lacking real influence at the UN or in the minds of first world leaders, has been ignored since the Second World War despite the best intentions of the withdrawing colonial European powers. It’s remoteness has hidden multiple wars that have resulted in a mass exodus to northern regions with barely credible governments or rule of law.
        Is the EU directly responsible, running concentration death camps and pillaging the Libyan people? That’s plainly ridiculous.
        But they are culpable, along with the UN and the world’s powerful countries that comprise the G7.
        I fear their next major failing will be completely ignoring the rapidly accelerating Climate Change effects evident around the world which will dwarf the present refugee migration count when the equatorial belt becomes uninhabitable. That the host country can dictate the G7’s agenda and Trump has said “NO” to any climate change discussions, it’s an utterly predictable tragedy about to unfold over the next two decades.
        At the exact time in the planets history when big decisions are paramount to survival, we have decided to elect the least capable, most self-interested denialist leaders in the US and UK who see no point In collaborative action and will actively campaign to deny the rest of the world a future.
        Just great.

  7. Im pretty sure these opinions will have been forgotten the day riots start in Saudi or any other brutal dictatorship run nation or for that matter in the US: the freedom to provide apps to monitor police or military…

  8. Despite some folks belief in American Exceptionalism, Apple is required to follow the laws of any country they wish to do business in. No matter how we may feel about those laws and how unfair we may view them as being.

    1. Or Apple could stop being a hypocrite and pull out of China, moving operations to nations that honor human rights that Timmy supposedly reveres.

    2. Hate to sound like a broken record, but how would destroying at least half of Apple’s business and stock price help any of the victims of the Chinese government? How badly would it hurt Chinese citizens (including Hongkongers) who depend on Apple for their livelihood or who bought Apple devices with the expectation that they would have access to the App Store, iCloud, and system upgrades? How badly would it hurt American citizens who would be affected by massive Apple downsizing? Do the grandstanders who are calling for this give a flip about those consequences?

      1. Yes, I realize those REAL consequences and embrace them as I rip Tim for what I see as hypocritical compromising. That doesn’t make heeding frequently to the wishes of a dictator any less of a WTF moment (s). Yes, AAPL and, me as a stockholder–who doesn’t want to lose my stock value–are heeding to a ruthless dictatorial regime. They aren’t just saying, “you can’t wear those red pants”, their requests limit “us” giving items of freedom to freedom seeking people. “Life” could be substituted for “freedom,” and still be truthful (for some Chinese). We limit another’s freedom for “stability” in our own life?

        It’s only a stretch in timeframe and experience, but I’ll guess few would have any issues saying no to the German regime of the early/mid part of the 20th century. Parts and pieces are different, but critical essences are the same…we wouldn’t heed to them, would we?

        Freedom is costly and often arrives and stays as a result of destabilizing measures. I do see “those consequences,” but I wonder if those consequences pale greatly when on the other side of freedom, or when truly losing freedom?

        1. You should never slap a king unless you can kill him. Choosing to make a stand against tyranny when it will neither hurt the tyrant or help his victims is far worse than useless. It may foreclose the option of further actions that might actually help the victims or harm the tyrant. In this case, refusing to pull the apps will have no positive consequences, since China can simply shut down access to the App Store and/or put Apple China out of business.

          The most severe consequence of that would fall on individuals whose income directly or indirectly depends on Apple… and more of those are Chinese than American. The regime would certainly find that an acceptable trade off for eliminating a major route for Western cultural influence via the thousands of other apps that would also be eliminated. The lot of ordinary Chinese would be worse, not better. Freedom would suffer, not prosper.

          But some American politicians, who have suffered no adverse consequences because they never had a personal stake in the game, can feel self-righteous.

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