In another example of Apple walking a fine line with global governments, it has changed how Crimea is displayed in its Maps and Weather apps after heeding Russian demands.
Apple has officially responded to the change about how Crimea now populates in Maps and Weather as being a part of Russia when viewed from within Russia via CNBC. The response comes after the Ukraine publicly criticized Apple for the move.
“We would like to clarify for our customers around the world that we have not made any changes to Apple Maps regarding Crimea outside of Russia, where a new law went into effect that required us to update the map within Russia,” Apple said.
“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. 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. Our intention is to make sure our customers can enjoy using Maps and other Apple services, everywhere in the world.”
After the change went live, Ukraine’s foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko had harsh words for Apple.
Let me explain in your terms, @Apple. Imagine you’re crying out that your design & ideas, years of work & piece of your heart are stolen by your worst enemy but then smb ignorant doesn’t give a damn about your pain. That’s how it feels when you call #Crimea a 🇷🇺 land.
— Vadym Prystaiko (@VPrystaiko) November 27, 2019
In a globally criticized move in 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. Now, as reported by the BBC, Apple has updated how Crimea shows in its Maps and Weather apps and the results are different based on if you’re viewing the apps from inside Russia or not.
BBC notes that the Russian State Duma put out a very short statement highlighting the change, “Crimea and Sevastopol now appear on Apple devices as Russian territory.”
For Apple customers in Russia, here’s how it now looks in the Weather app:
Image via BBC
And here’s the same search from outside Russia:
Apple was reportedly in discussions with Russia for months over the issue and preferred to leave the region as an “undefined territory.”
But Vasily Piskaryov, chairman of the Duma security and anti-corruption committee, said Apple had complied with the Russian Constitution.
In contrast, Google Maps shows Crimea as an undefined territory but it does use Russian spellings instead of Ukrainian ones.
Apple has seen criticism building around its foreign relations, most recently with the Hong Kong protests and the decision to pull the HKmap Live app.
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