Apple Changes Crimea Map to Please the Russian Government

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 27 Nov 2019

Apple has toed the line with governments for more than once. Last time around, the company took flak for removing an app related to Hong Kong protests. Now it has come to light that Apple has changed how Crimea is displayed in Maps and Weather apps after succumbing to the Russian government’s demand.

Here is the context, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine back in 2014 and was criticized for the same. Apple has now set Maps and Weather to show Crimea as a Russian territory when viewed from within Russia. When viewed outside Russia, Crimea is not shown as part of Russia. The Russian State Duma has issued a statement that reads “Crimea and Sevastopol now appear on Apple devices as Russian territory.”

The screenshot below shows how Apple Maps and Weather display Crimea for people staying in Russia.

It is said that Apple was in discussion with Russia for months and preferred to mark the region as an “undefined territory.”

The tech giant originally suggested it could show Crimea as undefined territory – part of neither Russia nor Ukraine.

But Vasily Piskaryov, chairman of the Duma security and anti-corruption committee, said Apple had complied with the Russian Constitution.”

Apple is yet to issue a statement. It is worth noting that Google Maps shows that Crimea neither belongs to Russia or Ukraine.

Our Take

Apple is known for refusing to budge when it comes to requests from governments or authorities in cases like privacy and freedom of speech. However, Apple’s stance seems to be changing in the recent past. The company is perhaps trying to build foreign relations by buckling to demands by local governments. Thankfully, the Cupertino company has maintained its position and refused to build a backdoor for authorities.

[via BBC]