updated 10:10 pm EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Company complies with only half of judge's controversial order
Following a ruling by a Brazilian judge that anonymous social apps such as Secret violate the Brazilian constitution, Apple has removed the program from the App Store in that country, citing that its own guidelines require that apps comply with local laws in the country they're sold in. In addition to Apple, the judge ordered Google and Microsoft to also remove the app or similar apps. There has not, however, been any reports of Apple or the other companies remotely deleting the app from users' devices.
The latter demand formed the second part of the judge's order, although it only applies to devices within the country. The three companies will face fines if they do not fully comply -- but it is possible the companies will opt to challenge that portion of the judge's ruling, arguing (among other possible challenges) that it can't be certain that remote deletion would not affect, for example, devices owned by non-Brazilians who happen to be in the country at that moment and are not affected by the order.
Although the companies all have a version of the technology that allows for remote deletion of apps, all three intended the feature to be used only for dire security or malware afflictions. All three specifically exclude the withdrawal of an app from the respective stores as sole cause to delete the program off users' devices.
The original ruling gave the companies 10 days to comply with the order or face fines of up to 20,000 Real ($8,900 US) per day. Thus far, none of the three companies have moved to delete the app off of devices that have already downloaded it (Secret does not exist on the Windows Phone platform, but a similar program -- Cryptic -- was order removed). The prosecutor who brought the case, Marcelo Zenker, has pointed to examples of cyber-bullying as a reason to delete the app, but critics have argued that his and the judge's interpretation of the law is overly broad, and contrary to the constitution's intent.