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Apple: Wikileaks app put people 'in harms way'

updated 01:55 pm EST, Tue December 21, 2010

Raises censorship concerns

An Apple spokesperson has provided a brief explanation of why an unofficial Wikileaks app was pulled from the App Store. "We removed WikiLeaks because it violated developer guidelines," the representative says. "An app must comply with all local laws. It may not put an individual or target group in harms way."

Apple has declined to say which groups or individuals might be "in harms way." The claim likely refers to the belief in some political quarters that recent Wikileaks documents are putting Americans and the US government at risk, having recently exposed activities like spying at the United Nations or false-flag bombing in Yemen. Some American politicians, like senator Dianne Feinstein, have accused Wikileaks and its editor -- Julian Assange -- of breaking espionage laws.

The takedown once again raises the problem of political censorship at the App Store. Apple has drawn fire for blocking or removing political apps in the past, such as a Republican candidate's campaign app, or even a title which simply featured editorial cartoons. Another app promoting the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration was recently pulled following a petition. Although the App Store is a private business, its industry dominance may have larger ramifications for political speech.

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. icewing

    Joined: Dec 1969



    a glimmer of sanity...

  1. afaby

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Assange didn't break any laws...

    Bad form, Apple.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm on the fence with this one

    On the one hand, publishing information that could lead to injury or death is really bad, but publishing information pointing up the illegal/unethical/stupidity of our government officials is critical.

    Where does the line get drawn? How can we assure one without the other? Apple isn't the free press, nor specifically a source for it. They are a company selling software, hardware, and services.

    Since the days of investigative journalism are fading into distant memory, there is a void that must be filled for a free society to make informed decisions about "their" government. Unfortunately, there is no legitimate way to vet the information before publishing on wikileaks without winding up in prison (hmmm, sounds like china?)

    Anyway, I personally don't need this to be on the app store, and I really can't blame Apple for dropping it. It doesn't make them the good guy by allowing it, but it doesn't make them the bad guy either.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What a Crock

    your comment

  1. Sebastien

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So, why then....

    ...did it get approved in the first place, Apple, hmm?

    That's right folks, Apple's own approval process' right hand doesn't know what its left hand is doing.

    I shudder to think what kind of mess the Mac App Store will be.

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I Am Sorry

    Anything that exposes the hypocrisy of the leadership that has led to the death of over 6000 of our best and bravest is great no matter from where it comes.

    Who can be more harmed. Not since Viet Nam has there been more need for citizens in the streets opposing the perpetrators of this nightmare for oil.

    Hopefully Apple or not the WiKiLeaks will be the call to arms to stop these wars of insanity.

  1. Cronocide

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Well, It Makes Sense

    Apple obviously supports Wiki Leaks, otherwise they would have never never never never let that app into the App store in the first place. But on the other hand, they couldn't leave it there, could they. The government would be on their case and the last thing Apple needs during the holiday season is bad publicity.

    This way, those who wanted the app got it, and those who aren't fanatics of the cause don't need to be bothered in any way.

  1. yticolev

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Doesn't matter

    WikiLeaks is available on a billion mirror sites on the internet. Which is freely and readily accessible on iOS devices. Only if Apple, or more likely, carriers, start censoring the internet a la China does anyone from Playboy to WikiLeak fans have anything to gripe about the actions of an equipment manufacturer. Heck, Apple is not even close to being a monopoly in equipment, either in mobile devices that can access the internet, or the less mobile desktops that can access the internet. Everyone is free to read WikiLeaks to their heart's content. Except the Chinese and North Koreans of course.

  1. facebook_Darryn

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2010


    That might be the media reason

    Has anyone stopped to think that maybe the real reason it was pulled was because the app no longer works with the main site down?

    Of course Apple isn't going to allow broken apps on the store.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    'in harms way'

    Oh, that's the 'reason' the government gave for keeping all this stuff 'secret'. Yeah, because look at the crises that have occurred since all this data has been made public. The nation is in turmoil! Diplomats all over the world are being excluded from gala diplomatic parties, stuck at home having to watch TV now.

    And I don't care what anyone says, it must have been a master hacker or thief to break into the US's secret and secure network, access all those various servers, and copy all those files, then transport them out of the building. Some private in the army can't do all that.

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