Apple's discontinuation of WikiLeaks app just another exercise in control

Posted by Liam Britten

In an ongoing effort to control everything you see, hear, read or get off on, Apple pulled the first WikiLeaks app from the App Store today, saying that the app violated their policies on acceptable content.

From the CBC:

The WikiLeaks App created by Igor Barinov was removed from the iTunes app store on Dec. 20, three days after it was put up for sale a cost of $1.99 US, Barinov reported via Twitter.

According to Barinov, Apple said the app violated developer guidelines that stated the company would reject any app that:

  • Is "defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual in harm's way."
  • Does not comply with "all legal requirements in any location where [it is] made available to users."

Apple confirmed this information in a statement emailed to CBC News.

Android users, however, can still get WikiLeaks apps freely, as MSNBC reports:

While Apple severed ties with WikiLeaks, removing an application from its online store that gave users access to the controversial website's content, Google which operates the second-largest online mobile applications store, has kept more than half a dozen apps available on its Android Marketplace that make it easier to access the confidential U.S. government documents WikiLeaks had released on its site.

The two distinct approaches highlight how it is far tougher for developers to get on the iPhone's platform than Android's. Some of the Android programs provide direct access to the WikiLeaks cables, and one of them even alerts users whenever a new leaked document from the WikiLeaks repository is made public.

It always blows me away what media companies decide is and isn’t acceptable for public consumption. Take any TV network; any matter of bloody, visceral violence is a-okay, but half a second of a woman’s breast? Break out your pitchforks and torches, ‘cause it’s moral outrage time!

Apple is no different. They’re content to release apps that help men plan out how to cheat on their spouses (it even allows you to schedule when your side women are on their periods! Hooray!), yet an app that presents information freely available on the Internet is too controversial. I suppose Apple is making this move to avoid legal problems in the future, assuming the U.S. government is serious about charging WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act; but if they’re really so concerned about that, why not block WikiLeaks from being accessed by Apple products altogether? I’m sure it can’t be that difficult.

This is just one more example of Apple thinking that they know what’s best for everyone. For a company that encourages consumers to “Think Different,” they sure have a hard-on for thought control.

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Liam Britten

Liam Britten

Liam Britten is a writer and editor with a journalism background operating out of Vancouver. In addition to his work at Techvibes, he has been published in student publications across Canada, as well as local newspapers such as The MapleRidge-Pitt Meadows TIMES and The Langley Advance. An aficionado for the finer things in life — such as video games and sports — Liam is plugged into the tech... more



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