Here’s an odd story that has come up. Apple has removed the unofficial WikiLeaks application from the App Store. Of course, WikiLeaks is the organization responsible for leaking secrete government documents, and has captured so much of the mainstream media attention as of late. Igor Barinov, the application’s developer, has reported that the app was […]
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Apple Pulls Unofficial WikiLeaks Application From the App Store

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Here’s an odd story that has come up. Apple has removed the unofficial WikiLeaks application from the App Store. Of course, WikiLeaks is the organization responsible for leaking secrete government documents, and has captured so much of the mainstream media attention as of late.

Igor Barinov, the application’s developer, has reported that the app was “removed from sale” in a tweet, noting that it was pulled less than three days after it had been approved for sale on the App Store.

Basically the paid app was selling WikiLeaks content (available for free) for $1.99. Its entry into the app store on December 17th was actually surprising, as Apple is usually quite strict and somewhat vague about its app approval standards. WikiLeaks and founder Julian Assange are quite controversial, to put it lightly but I’m not sure if the app directly violated anything in Apple’s TOS.

In the past couple of weeks corporate biggies Amazon, PayPal, Mastercard, Visa and Bank of America have all tried to disassociate themselves in one way or another from WikiLeaks. If this isn’t some kind of glitch, Apple has plenty company.

Further complicating the issue, $1 of the $1.99 application cost is donated to WikiLeaks. Reportedly this violates at least one of Apple’s App Store rules, that is, if an app collects donations, you cannot charge for the app. Of course, this app does both.

Now, Business Insider reports that they have word directly from Apple, that claims the applications was removed due to the subject matter that it covers.
Here’s an excerpt from the report:

We reached out to Apple for comment on why it pulled the app and here’s what a representative told us:

“We removed WikiLeaks because it violated developer guidelines. An app must comply with all local laws. It may not put an individual or target group in harms way.”

Apple did not say the “individual target group” was. Nor did they say who was in “harms way.” So, Apple is remaining very tight-lipped on this.

This stinks. On the one hand, (and I’m speaking on behalf of myself not iSource) I’m all for free speech, and in the long run, I support WikiLeaks. However, I totally understand why Apple, or any company in their position, would remove the app from the App Store. It’s too politically hot to handle. Let’s say some judicial body in some country found something on WikiLeaks. In that case, Apple could be held accountable for supporting their effort. Even if it was in the most indirect way.

All said and done, this app should have never been allowed on the store in the first place, or it should have been left up after it was approved. Don’t flip flop, because now it’s gathering media attention.

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