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Apple 'taking a deeper look' at Maps changes after Crimea debacle

Source: BBC News correspondent Will Vernon via Twitter

In a statement following assignment of the Crimea Peninsula to Russia in Apple Maps and Weather, Apple says that it will re-evaluate how it handles disputed borders going forward — but no changes have been made as of yet.

Apple said that the changes to labeling and nationality of the Crimea Peninsula were made only to Russian users of Apple Maps, and not outside of the country. The changes, Apple said, were in response to the evolution of laws in the country which mandated the change.

"We review international law as well as relevant U.S. and other domestic laws before making a determination in labeling Maps and make changes if required by law," Apple told AppleInsider and other venues. "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."

Moscow has been urging Apple and other technology companies to recognize the region as Russian territory for upwards of a year, noting that not doing so is in contravention of Russian law. As it had done in China in regards to iCloud data residency, Apple complied with the law.

Apple's "deeper look" has not resulted in any changes as of the morning of December 2. The announcement by Apple was made on the Friday after US Thanksgiving — a time where there has historically been little, if any, activity in the company.

Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014. The US does not recognize Crimea as Russian. Other nations vary in their interpretations.

The U.S. and UK both leveled trade sanctions against Russian entities in 2014. As a result, Apple was forced to terminate developer agreements of coders living in Crimea.