Whenever Apple has an issue with a foreign country, it sometimes ends up giving in to the government in question at the expense of others with a humanitarian objective. For example, last month Apple banned an app called HKmap.live at the request of the Chinese government. With the app, protestors in Hong Kong could see where police were hanging out and could avoid them. But Apple sometimes doesn't know whether it is doing the right thing. In this case, it reinstated the app and pulled it again at the insistence of Beijing.
Recently, Apple found itself in the middle of another squabble this one involving Russia and Ukraine. An update to the Maps and Weather apps referred to the Crimean peninsula as Russia in those apps. The problem is that in taking Russia's side in this fight, Apple is bowing down to Vladimir Putin and the regime that annexed Crimea as Russian territory back in 2014. But Ukraine is not happy about this. For 13 years, Crimea was a Ukrainian Republic and Ukraine wants it back. During his inauguration, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky even referred to Crimea as "Ukrainian land."
said in a tweet that Apple doesn't "give a damn" about the country. Prystaiko attempted to convey to the global tech giant how his country feels about what it has done. In English, he wrote, "Let me explain in your terms, Apple. Imagine you’re crying out that your design and ideas, years of work and piece of your heart are stolen by your worst enemy, but then somebody ignorant doesn’t give a damn about your pain. That’s how it feels when you call Crimea a Russian land." It should be pointed out that the foreign minister wrote the Tweet on an Android-powered device.Following the discovery that Apple bowed to pressure from Putin, Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine's foreign minister,
Outside of Russia, Crimea is listed without a country designation
Now if there is one thing we learned about Apple with how it handled the HKmap.live situation is that the company can change its mind. Remember, after booting the app it reinstated it before de-listing it again. And now, after making Crimea part of Russia, the company said that it is "taking a deeper look at how we handle disputed borders." Speaking to Reuters, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said that it made the change because of a new law that went into effect in Russia. The spokeswoman said, "We review international law as well as relevant U.S. and other domestic laws before making a determination in labeling on our Maps and make changes if required by law. We are taking a deeper look at how we handle disputed borders in our services and may make changes in the future as a result."
Wednesday, the official website of Russia’s lower house of parliament (the State Duma) noted that an Apple representative had recently met with Vasily Piskaryov. The latter happens to be the head of the committee on security and anti-corruption. Following the meeting, Piskaryov said, "Apple has fulfilled its obligations and brought the programs on its devices in line with the requirements of Russian law."
Reuters reporters noticed the change in the aforementioned apps on Wednesday when the peninsula was listed as "Simferopol, Crimea, Russia." Those outside of Russia, including iPhone users in Ukraine and Crimea, see the territory referred to as Crimea without a country designation. The U.S. and EU do not consider Crimea to be part of Russia in any way and those who have violated Crimea's territorial integrity have been sanctioned. This means that Apple, in choosing between Russian law and the official position of the U.S., has chosen the former.