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Apple removes 'Jew or Not Jew' from French App Store

updated 01:10 am EDT, Thu September 15, 2011

Database of public figures seen as offensive

A Jewish developer of an app called "Jew or Not Jew?" has found his app removed from the App Store in France following a complaint from a French anti-racism group that threatened legal action. The app compiled a database of celebrities and public figures and identified which were Jewish. Apple says it removed the app not because of any perceived offense, but because the app violates a French law that forbids giving out personal details.

The .79 Euro (roughly $1) app, called "Juif ou pas Juif?" in French, is still available in App Stores outside France, and sells for $2 (and is still available) in the U.S. The developer, Johann Levy, says he came up with the app to satisfy curiousity in the Jewish community he grew up in, with people wanting to know if a given public figure was Jewish or not.

He sees the app as "recreational" and a way to reinforce pride in Jewish heritage by identifying prominent persons who are also Jewish, though he pointed out that his views may not be shared by all Jewish people. Levy says he compiled the data from publicly-available sources on the Internet.

The law the app is accused of violating was enacted after the Holocaust, where some 76,000 Jews were deported from Nazi-occupied France to concentration camps. Less than five percent of that number survived the experience. The law forbids private compiling of personal details on people (including race, sexuality, and political or religious affiliations) without their consent. Violations are punishable with up to five-year sentences and fines up to 300,000 Euros, or $412,000.

Levy has not yet been contacted by any authorities over the app. Developers are responsible for ensuring that their apps meet local laws in the stores in which they are sold.

An Apple spokesman said the app violated French law, and thus was removed from the French App Store. Anti-racism group SOSS Racisme called on the company to remove the app from all stores and be more vigilant about the applications it sells. Apple has removed a number of apps over the years for violating developer guidelines that forbid apps that offend or deliberately target large groups of people, often after organized protests or bad press brings the matter to public attention.

Earlier this summer, the company removed an app called ThirdIntifada after Jewish groups complained that it glorified violence against Israel. Other apps have been removed for condemning gay people or gay marriage.














by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Zanziboy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Bad Title for an App!

    While I realize the problem with the app is not with its name, I think the title is not appropriate. The intention of the app is good, but it seems like the title could have been better selected to make it more appealing to a broader audience. As a non-Jew interested in finding out about famous Jewish personalities, downloading any app called "Jew or Not Jew" (even though meant in humor), makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

  1. herojig

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +8

    Tacky

    I wish people were interested in things more productive for humanity.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Sep 2011

    -12

    comment title

    They should have just restricted it to countries with freedom of speech. It's not Apple's fault some countries (like most in Europe) dont have freedom of speech, but they could have just banned it from these countries, not good ones like America.

  1. facebook_James

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Sep 2011

    +1

    Latest interview

    He's clearly just proud of his jewish heritage. It looks like Apple have allowed another version of the app in.

    Source: http://www.iphonebloggers.co.uk/2011/09/johann-levy-on-being-jewish-and-app-development/

  1. facebook_James

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Sep 2011

    -4

    Latest interview

    He's clearly just proud of his jewish heritage. It looks like Apple have allowed another version of the app in.

    Source: http://www.iphonebloggers.co.uk/2011/09/johann-levy-on-being-jewish-and-app-development/

  1. facebook_James

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Sep 2011

    -3

    Latest interview

    He's clearly just proud of his jewish heritage. It looks like Apple have allowed another version of the app in.

    Source: http://www.iphonebloggers.co.uk/2011/09/johann-levy-on-being-jewish-and-app-development/

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -4

    French anti-racist group is racist

    The french anti-racists are obviously a clever cover for a bunch of Vichy French anti-semites.

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