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Censorship Apple

WikiLeaks App Removed From Apple Store 338

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the dying-of-not-surprise dept.
Stoobalou writes "An 'unofficial' WikiLeaks App which contained published documents from the Cablegate leaks has been withdrawn from the Apple App Store.The $1.99 App created by developer Igor Barinov has been removed from sale without explanation despite the fact that all of the information contained in it is publicly available."
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WikiLeaks App Removed From Apple Store

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  • Go Apple! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544)

    Go Apple! Fuck yeah! /sarcasm

    Anyone else feel like Apple is slowly turning into a government, as far as their attitude and exertion of control is concerned?

    • Re:Go Apple! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LSD-OBS (183415) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:02AM (#34627468)

      They're not "slowly turning" at all. With their walled garden and draconian control over user habits and experience, they're a leading example of what a government might aspire to.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I don't get it. Can't you get to wikileaks through Safari? There's a local radio station that's constantly promoting "Want to listen live on your iPhone? Get our free app at Apple's app store!" Again, I don't get it. Can't you listen to the stream from their web site in Safari?

        Sorry if this comment sounds ignorant, because it is; I don't have an iPhone and just don't understand.

    • by DWMorse (1816016)
      Government? No. Apple is not up to it's ears in debt to foreign powers. But it's a little random about this app's removal. There will be no inquiry into their reasoning, unlike the Google app blocks.
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        Government? No. Apple is not up to it's ears in debt to foreign powers.

        You must have missed the part in my OP where I said "as far as their attitude and exertion of control is concerned." :p

        • Re:Go Apple! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DJRumpy (1345787) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:16AM (#34627632)

          Why would Apple need to risk reputation by supply questionable material via the App store? The app in question provided direct access to a site that has now entered into legal limbo. Apple is a private company, meaning they have every right to publish whatever content they like. I suppose from the parent post that Mastercard, PayPal, etc are now 'slowly turning into the government'. They probably made the same decision. It's not worth dealing with the bad public opinion of a cheap app.

          As to the information being 'publicly available', so is internet porn, child pornography, instructions to make bomb's, etc. None of which are allowed in the App Store. It's a straw man argument.

          Users can always browse to Wikileaks to it if they want to see that information, and Apple will do nothing to prevent that, just as they don't prevent you from browsing porn or whatnot. They simply refuse to peddle it.

          • Re:Go Apple! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:21AM (#34627698) Homepage

            Why would Apple need to risk reputation by supply questionable material via the App store? The app in question provided direct access to a site that has now entered into legal limbo. Apple is a private company, meaning they have every right to publish whatever content they like. I suppose from the parent post that Mastercard, PayPal, etc are now 'slowly turning into the government'. They probably made the same decision. It's not worth dealing with the bad public opinion of a cheap app.

            Then why is The Guardian's app still in the app store, genius? It too provides easily accessible access to the leaked cables, and is even one of the news agencies that has the complete file containing all of the cables.

            As to the information being 'publicly available', so is internet porn, child pornography, instructions to make bomb's, etc. None of which are allowed in the App Store. It's a straw man argument.

            And all of those things are illegal. I don't see the US government taking The New York Times to court, and they've been one of the news orgs publishing these things, so...

            Users can always browse to Wikileaks to it if they want to see that information, and Apple will do nothing to prevent that, just as they don't prevent you from browsing porn or whatnot. They simply refuse to peddle it.

            Once again, why is The Guardian's app still in the store then?

            • by Pojut (1027544)

              Well...internet porn isn't illegal -_-;; doy.

            • Once again, why is The Guardian's app still in the store then?

              The Guardian provides a lot of information, the heavily summarized, filtered and redacted cables being a very small part of that information. So does that mean you also think Apple should remove all web browsing capability because the internet contains classified information?

              The difference is that the removed application is specifically designed to provide access to classified information which is in specific violation of the espionage act. News outlets have generally been protected by the First Amendmen

            • > Once again, why is The Guardian's app still
              > in the store then?
              >

              Maybe because The Guardian's app wasn't breaking the Apple TOS with regards to donations? Because that is the reason that the Wikileaks app got pulled, not because of it's content.

          • Re:Go Apple! (Score:5, Informative)

            by lxs (131946) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:24AM (#34627722)

            What legal limbo? It is operating fully within the law here in the EU. Just because a couple of politicians on the other side of the pond have been braying their heads off doesn't create a legal limbo.

            • by DJRumpy (1345787)

              Wikileaks itself is in legal limbo within the United States. The right for the press to publish such documents is clearly stated in the constitution, however, the right for someone to steal such secrets is not. At some point, the decision has to be made whether or not Wikileaks is defined as 'the press', or if it's just some guy who has obtained a large number of classified documents.

              That is what I mean by legal limbo.

              As to the EU, it's not relevant. Apple is based in the US, and as such, it could come unde

              • Re:Go Apple! (Score:5, Informative)

                by Miseph (979059) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @10:19AM (#34628340) Journal

                Which is funny, because Julian Assange and Wikileaks didn't steal anything... the documents were given to them by a third party, widely believed to be Bradley Manning. Wikileaks is guilty only of receiving the data and publishing the parts they feel are morally justifiable to make public, not stealing, and not espionage, and certainly not treason (they aren't even eligible to commit that one).

                Deep Throat provided stolen, classified documents... nobody calls for the heads of Woodward and Bernstein.

      • Re:Go Apple! (Score:5, Informative)

        by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:30AM (#34627774)

        Not random at all... the app violates the donation prohibition [thedroidguy.com] in their store. Apps that solicit donations must be free, and this app promises a donation of $1 for each $1.99 purchase.

        Now, that prohibition might be a different reason to hate Apple, but they aren't necessarily going after Wikileaks.

        • Re:Go Apple! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:33AM (#34627828) Homepage

          Where in TFA does it mention the app soliciting donations? From what I read, it looks like the author is donating the money, rather than soliciting for it. As in, once he's paid, it's his money to use however he wants to.

          Besides, why did Apple approve it in the first place, if your post is accurate?

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            Where in TFA does it mention the app soliciting donations?

            First, let me just say that I am obviously speculating - so my opinion is as good as yours... that is, probably worthless :)

            But my understanding is that if the author wants to take his earnings and donate them, that is his business - unless he makes it part of the price... which is what he did. I think they are trying to avoid fraud. It would be impossible to follow up on every single author who makes such a claim to make sure that they donate as promised.

            Of course, Apple could just have a way to support do

    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:31AM (#34627786)

      Apple's a business. They haven't made their billions by marketing to transparency-obsessed hippies.

      Not that there is anything wrong with transparency-obsessed hippies, I'm just sayin'...

      There is zero-value to Jobs distributing any app having anything to do with Mr. Kryptonite, Julian Assange. Risks far outweigh rewards. Open-source ideologues that don't grasp this concept AND have the cash to contemplate an Apple-gadget purchase AND are willing to overlook Google's routine co-opting of personal privacy will, I'm sure, all run out to buy an Android now. But somehow I don't think those numbers will affect the Apple stock price all that much...

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Pojut (1027544)

        As I've said numerous other times in this discussion, following your line of thinking, why is The Guardian's app still in the app store? It too provides easily accessible access to the leaked cables, and is even one of the news agencies that has the complete file containing all of the cables.

        • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:46AM (#34627964)

          Because pulling a newspaper app that happens to be running a troublesome story is different from pulling an app whose raison d'etre is that troublesome story.

      • Can you elaborate on why calling Julian Assange "Mr. Kryptonite"?

        • I would, but it doesn't look you've got much candle left and the cave you've been living in seems like it will get pretty darn dark and cold soon...

      • This "Apple is a business" argument is stupid. That's like saying, "The mafia is a business". Yes, it's true. But the argument doesn't address the behavior. As a society, we don't allow mafia type businesses with their murder and extortion. We don't have to allow Apple's closed garden. Business so often means "amoral amassing of profit". Where it could, and to my mind should be, an engine for providing the financing to do good works. Why people think that because an organization is a "business" that
    • ...of charity programs which MUST be free. Charity payments must be done through paypal or an external web site which the app links to.

      This app was donating 1$ per sale. But it still violated the rule.

      There are tax reasons for this rule.

      So, everybody can get off their horsies.

      • Thank god for conveniences.

        Otherwise Apple's bias would be obvious even to you.

        • by MouseR (3264) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:57AM (#34628096) Homepage

          What about YOUR bias?

          The rules are clearly laid out in the license and they violated one (or more). Thus it got pulled out.

          If the app gets corrected AND it's resubmission gets refused, THEN we will have reason to cry foul.

          Until then, I don't see why everyone is getting all worked up given Apple wants to play fair with others who might have gotten the axe for the same rule violation.

          • by RedK (112790) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @10:29AM (#34628462)

            Except again, the app was not asking for donations, the money for donations was not coming from any links in the app itself, nor was the author mentionning it in his litterature. What the author chooses to do with the money he receives is not up to Apple at all. Whether it be buying a Porsche, a house, a night on the Vegas strip or simply donating it to a cause of his choosing. The rules don't apply unless you have a DONATE button somewhere or mention that X$ amount of each purchases goes X cause in your submission text.

            So people, stop playing the "donation" card, you're all wrong unless you have proof that he was actually breaking the rule. Giving away his own hard earned money is not breaking the rule.

  • Safari (Score:5, Funny)

    by linumax (910946) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:02AM (#34627460)
    Well, I'm sure Safari would be pulled next because it makes the same information accessible.
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Well, I'm sure Safari would be pulled next because it makes the same information accessible.

      Actually, Safari is the way that Apple sanctions donations, along with special SMS messages. You can't solicit donations from inside an app. I suspect this app would not have been pulled if it were free.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:05AM (#34627494) Homepage Journal
    i wonder what anonymous will do to apple's app store.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:06AM (#34627508)

    http://images.worldofapple.com/appstoreguidelines_9910.pdf

    Donations can only be collected with free apps. That's where this specific app went wrong. Simple. Funny that Apple needed 4 days to find out.

    • by DarkDust (239124) <marc@darkdust.net> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:19AM (#34627672) Homepage
      Psssst, don't spoil the fun of mindless Apple bashing by providing a totally valid reason for the app removal ! Or at least provide another possible victim to direct the nerd rage at.
    • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte.drunksnipers@com> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:21AM (#34627700) Homepage

      Where did you read that the application was collecting donations?
      TFA only mentions that the author donates $1 to wikileaks for every sale.

      • by mad flyer (589291) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:32AM (#34627816)

        I'm speechless, You manage to state one thing and it's complete opposite in just 2 sentences...
        Are you a professional comedian on TV or just a politician ?

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          El Muerte's point is that the artile makes it sound like the author is collecting his money for the application, then choosing to donate his money to Wikileaks...very different than actively soliciting a donation.

          Once it's his money, he's free to do whatever the hell he wants with it. Or are you advocating otherwise?

          • by Rary (566291) *

            If you advertise that $1 from each sale will be donated, then you are using the donation as a selling point, and therefore putting the decision to donate on the buyer. It's a sneaky way to profit off of another's desire to donate, and also to get the tax incentive from what is effectively someone else's donation.

            If you make no mention of donation at sale time, then at the end of the day decide to donate the equivalent of $1 from each sale, then the decision to donate is entirely your own.

            This article doesn'

      • See section 21. Donations can only be collected with free apps, and only by certain ways. Most likely since Apple can not confirm that $1 is being donated correctly so it pulled the app. If the person resubmits it with in app donations within the application it might be approved again.
        • by RedK (112790)
          Apple's TOS doesn't get to dictate what I do with my App Store revenue. If I wish to take all the cash I make selling an app and then donate it to a cause of my choosing, they have no say in the matter, same as they have no say in the color of the Porsche I buy with said money. Respecting their rule is as easy as not mentioning the donation in any literature you submit to them. What the rule is for is for "Donation" buttons in the apps themselves. This is not what this is and thus that rule doesn't appl
    • Well, if that is the case the app should be corrected in no time.
  • Apparently this was because the app asked for donations.
  • ...that a closed garden sucks. Release the hounds of hell!
  • The app clearly violated Apples policy on donations, which is most likely the case the app was removed, and was clearly admitted to by the apps creator. Boy do people read way too much into things.
  • by syates21 (78378)

    So, since pretty much every movie, song, and piece of software is "publicly available" if you have the right torrent tracker, it would be an outrage for Apple to pull, say, my new "Havatar" app that let's you play an full copy of the Avatar movie for free right?

  • Even 3rd graders should understand that concept. I get the source code license for MS Windows from a public site I make an Apple app for it, just because I got it from a location that was publicly available doesn't mean it's unencumbered. I get the internal financial documents for Redhat that someone copied and put onto a public website, I make an Apple app for it, again using data I didn't have rights to. You have to be a complete moron to not understand the legality of content you don't have rights to.

  • How long until Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner, Verizon, etc. "stop carrying Wikileaks information" over their infrastructure?

  • I don't write Apps on apple platforms.
  • "There's no app for that."
  • by The Dodger (10689) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @10:00AM (#34628142) Homepage

    In other news, Assange is suffering a major sense of humour failure over the Guardian publishing details from the leaked police report into his case.

    http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/assange-turns-on-the-guardian-over-assault-case-coverage/s2/a542064/ [journalism.co.uk]

    If you're very, very quiet and listen very, very carefully, you might be able to hear the world's tiniest violin playing for Assange. ;-)

  • Maybe I'm just confused but it looks like the Wikileaks App is still there [apple.com].

    It also doubles as the two guys having explicit sex app [wired.com] and the kama sutra app [wired.com], so I can see why Apple would be loathe to remove it.


  • Classified documents leaked to the public are still classified. Apple is subject to US laws, so it's likely they're protecting themselves from possible legal action. Making money off an app used to distribute classified US government documents probably wouldn't sound good in court, if it ever came to that.

Truth is free, but information costs.

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