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Apple plays ball with Russia and labels Crimea as Russian territory

Apple plays ball with Russia and labels Crimea as Russian territory

Apple now lables the Crimea as Russian territory if its Maps app is used in Russia APPLE USED TO BE COOL MAAAANNN; it used to fight the power by giving the FBI the runaround, but now it seems to roll over and show its belly to government demands. Case in point, the BBC reported that

Apple now lables the Crimea as Russian territory if its Maps app is used in Russia

Apple now lables the Crimea as Russian territory if its Maps app is used in Russia

APPLE USED TO BE COOL MAAAANNN; it used to fight the power by giving the FBI the runaround, but now it seems to roll over and show its belly to government demands.

Case in point, the BBC reported that the folks at Cupertino have given in to Russian demands that the annexed Crimean peninsula should be shown as Russian territory in its Maps and Weather apps when viewed from Russian.

The Beeb, thanks to its long reach, tested several iPhones in Moscow and found that the Crimean peninsula does indeed show up as Russian territory.

Furthermore, this was reinforced by a statement from State Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower house: “Crimea and Sevastopol now appear on Apple devices as Russian territory.”

Apple’s said nothing about the decision at the time of writing.

Sevastapol, the naval port city in annexed Crimea, appears as a sperate region, but then Russia treats it that way.

When Russia annexed the Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, it was met with international condemnation. So one would think a US company like Apple wouldn’t be too happy with presenting the Crimea as Russian territory.

Then again, despite all its do-gooder vibes, Apple is sill out to make money, and Russia is a big market, so avoiding annoying one of the most powerful countries in the world is just good business.

And Apple isn’t alone in making such a Russia-based map tweak, as Google has gone the same for Google Maps when used in Russia.

What is a tad unnerving is that the whole thing reeks of tech being used as propaganda, and tech companies are willing to play ball with such actions. Though that would depend on your point of view as to whether you consider an annexed bit of Ukraine as legitimate Russian or Ukranian territory, or something else.

At a time when the likes of Facebook are under scrutiny for spreading political adverts and propaganda, this whole situation doesn’t make us feel any easier about some of the way technology can manipulate political and social narratives. µ

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Susan E. Lopez
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