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Apple reviews policies after maps app shows Crimea as part of Russia

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APPLE Inc. is reviewing its mapping policies after the company was criticised for including Crimea as part of Russia in some versions of its Maps app.

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APPLE Inc. is reviewing its mapping policies after the company was criticised for including Crimea as part of Russia in some versions of its Maps app.

Earlier last week, Ukrainian officials accused Apple of insensitivity for showing the Black Sea peninsula as part of Russia on Russian versions of the map software used on iPhones and iPads.

They said the area is under Russian occupation and its sovereignty hasn't changed. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, prompting international sanctions.

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Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told Reuters that Apple has not made any changes to its maps outside of Russia, and made the change for Russian users because of a new law that went into effect in that country.

Reuters reporters in Moscow who typed the name of the Crimean provincial capital Simferopol into Apple's Maps and Weather apps on Wednesday saw it displayed as "Simferopol, Crimea, Russia".

Users elsewhere - including in Ukraine's capital Kiev and in Crimea itself - see locations in Crimea displayed without specifying which country they belong to.

Apple recently removed the Taiwanese flag from the emoji keyboard on devices running in Hong Kong and Macau, after earlier pulling it from mainland China.

It also came under fire for pulling a maps app in Hong Kong that the developer said was designed to help users avoid areas of protest.

Apple said it was following local laws in both instances.

Here's Apple's full statement on Friday: "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.

"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." BLOOMBERG, REUTERS