Apple to take ‘deeper look’ at how the company’s apps handle disputed borders

In a statement to BBC News, Apple says it is taking “a deeper look” at how the company’s Maps app handles disputed borders.

BBC News:

Ukraine criticised the tech giant for showing Crimea as part of Russia’s territory on its Maps and Weather apps.

An Apple spokeswoman says the company follows international and domestic laws and the change, which is only for users in Russia, had been made because of new legislation there.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 was condemned by much of the international community.

In a statement, Apple stressed “we have not made any changes to Apple Maps regarding Crimea outside of Russia.”

“We review international law as well as relevant US and other domestic laws before making a determination in labelling on our Maps and make changes if required by law.”

Apple added it as a result of its review of how disputed borders are handled, it might make more changes in the future…

Google, which produces its own popular map app, also shows Crimea as belonging to Russia when viewed from the country. That change happened in March.

MacDailyNews Take: This can of worms roils unabated.


  1. It may be a can of worms, but it is one that is unavoidable for a multinational corporation. As MDN frequently points out, Apple complies with the local laws in each jurisdiction where it does business. It does not do this because it agrees with the EU tax regulations, Chinese free speech restrictions, or Russian chauvinism. It does it because it does not want its in-country personnel to go to prison or its in-country assets to be seized.

    Russia has a law which provides for a four-year prison term, fine, and forfeiture of profits against anyone who distributes a map within Russia that shows Crimea or Sebastopol, unless they are shown to be Russian territory. Apple does not have the option of ignoring this law. Nor can it omit distributing any maps at all in Russia. Why? Because Apple Maps are throughly integrated into iOS, iPadOS, and (to a lesser extent) MacOS. Pulling the maps will break the system, and not pulling the maps without moving the border will also put the company out of business in Russia. So, Apple must either comply with the map law or pull out of Russia entirely.

    As a lengthy discussion on another thread shows, it is hard to find any country where Apple does business that does not have at least some objectionable government policies that it imposes on companies that do business there. If Apple pulled out of all those countries, too, there would not be much left. (Do all of you believe in state taxpayer support for Medicaid, or that Apple should stop selling iPhones in those states?)

    For a longer discussion of the legal situation in Russia, see the following:

  2. Who cares? Really? Just let business have whatever, do whatever, sooner or later it will bite us all in the ass. Less healthy kids. Cancer causing drinking water. Deadly food. Hell 50 cents an hour wages. Hell, who the hell are you kidding they pay that somewhere in the world and claim that’s a fair wage for that place knowing they don’t sell their product in that place that reflects those wages. Nor do they give a damn about the workers, long hours, piss poor working conditions, cheating and lying plant managers.

    So who gives a damn about a map? There is a man lying and cheating every day known to you as Donald Trump. people will look you in the eye and say they have never heard this A— tell a lie.He tells others to break the law, and these fools claim it is an order they must follow. Americans don’t give a damn about a man that uses the presidency of their own nation to break the law and to hide from justice, why in the hell would they give a damn about a some principled position.

    Hey get on the band wagon, hate some people you don’t even know. Lie at least 5 times a day even if you don’t need. Cheat someone immediately. Extort something from somebody now. It’s the approved, make America great again, American way. And once you have done all that, call it a witch hunt. What the hell, it’s good enough for America. Follow suit world do as America does.

  3. No matter what Apple does, it’s going to be criticized by some faction. There’s no way Apple can win. It’s just a map, so I don’t see how it really harms anything or anyone. There has to be more important things in this world to complain about or wrongs that need to be righted. I don’t know which way Apple should choose in this map situation but I’m not going to waste my time worrying about it. I want Apple to be able to do business in Russia, so I don’t have any problem with them going along with Russian policy, at least in this particular case. Apple is always being targeted for something. There must be thousands of businesses in this world that are politically incorrect about something, somewhere. No company is perfect or that doesn’t step on someone’s toes. For some reason, they have to single out Apple as being some horrible company for making a decision. What about Bing Maps and Google Maps? Is only Apple Maps causing a stir?

    1. Really, how about Mexico demanding Texas being drawn as Mexico. Or Canada demanding Alaska be drawn as Canada. No big deal as long as Apple can sell there crap there. Great. Or how about India be drawn as part of the British empire. Too many people like you, just don’t care. Give businesses whatever they want.

      1. Tell you what BOB, I bet Apple will gladly distribute illegal maps in Russia if you agree to go to prison for them and make good their financial losses. It’s easy to complain when you don’t have any skin in the game.

        1. May I suggest Apple not set foreign policy and simply it follow the policy of it’s parent nation.

          Yes, that may cause it to lose business.

      2. If Canada had a territorial claim over Alaska, it absolutely should show Alaska as Canadian territory. Same thing as Texas.

        Where that place has legal dominion, you simply comply with that law in that territory. Think of a map of a geopolitical visual dictionary, and Apple is the lexicographer. Dictionaries are very regionalized, which is why you can have British English, American English, Canadian English, and Australian English have different spelling and pronunciations for words like color, neighbour, traveller, and of course aluminium in each one.

        Which spelling is correct? They all area, in their own respective regions.

        Same thing with maps.

        Apple’s policy should remain compile and comply, not denial and decide.

  4. Apple, Google, et al don’t have armies to en force policies. They agree to get out. I haven’t seen any workable solutions. Once Putin is deposed and Crimea is returned to Ukraine I’m sure everyone will gladly reset their maps.

  5. I find it interesting that Google Maps made this change in March, but there was no big outcry until Apple Maps did the same thing. In truth, Crimea has become part of Russia. Putin forcibly annexed it years ago and built a bridge to connect it to Russia and the world has done next to nothing to change that fact.

    I don’t like the fact that Apple has to capitulate to Putin’s skewed view of the world within Russia or China’s twisted view of human rights. At least int he U.S., Apple has able to push back against an encryption back door, although I don’t think that the FBI and other intelligence agencies have given up on that goal. But that does demonstrate that there is no country clean of governmental interference.

    I still find it surprising that people expect Apple to stand up to China and Russia and other countries in defiance of the laws of those countries. That is the Government’s responsibility, not Apple’s responsibility. If Apple were to adopt combative positions with respect to the laws of China or Russia, there would be serious repercussions. Instead, Apple stays in the market and contributes however it can to promoting it core principles, such as improving working conditions and raising wages. Those small social changes can lead to bigger changes down the line.

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