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Home /  Opinion  /  Just The Facts With Maps: Google And Apple Shouldn’t Bend To Russia’s Will

Just The Facts With Maps: Google And Apple Shouldn’t Bend To Russia’s Will

Just The Facts With Maps: Google And Apple Shouldn’t Bend To Russia’s Will

IF you’re searching for a forecast in Crimea on your Google or Apple weather and map apps, you may get confused about where, exactly, you are.
Conceding to Russian demands, Apple and Google edited their apps so that users in Crimea see a map that shows they are in Russia, not Ukraine.
Russia may be illegally occupying the Ukrainian border peninsula on the north side of the Black Sea, but Crimea is hardly Russian. And American tech companies should not be in the business of shiftily helping the Russians make it seem so.
Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 and still is under international sanctions because of it.
Users anywhere but Crimea and Russia using Google and Apple apps will sometimes see maps showing the territory is Ukrainian and sometimes see it identified as neither Russian nor Ukrainian, as if the companies are aiming for some kind of neutral nondistinction.
The varying maps are the result of Russian authorities demanding global tech companies recognise what the world’s nations will not — that it has legitimately annexed Crimea.
For its part, Ukraine and its embassy officials in the United States have complained about the American companies capitulating to Russia’s demands.
Apple officials recently responded to the controversy by saying it will “take a deeper look” at how it handles disputed borders in its maps and other apps. When it does, Apple should base its policy on the rule of international law rather than the pressure of thugish regimes.