Apple chief executive Tim Cook on Wednesday sent a letter to his staff explaining why the iPhone maker had banned a "benign" app in Hong Kong that enables users to crowdsource real-time information on police whereabouts, locations of traffic obstructions and protesters.

"Technology can be used for good or for ill," Cook wrote, after HKMap.live was removed from its App Store. "The app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimise individuals and property where no police are present."

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