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Apple Pulls WikiLeaks App from iTunes

by Josh Kirschner on December 22, 2010

On Monday, Apple pulled an app from iTunes that provided access to content from WikiLeaks. According to an Apple representative quoted on Business Insider, "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."

Did Apple do the right thing by pulling the app?

First of all, I don't see this as an issue of whether or not you support what WikiLeaks is doing. I don't. But the fact is that the WikiLeaks information has been widely reported in the news media and is available from dozens of sources around the web. It has long since passed the point of being secret information and is now, for better or worse, public.

The WikiLeaks app (which was created by a third-party developer and is not connected to the WikiLeaks organization) did not release any new information. It simply made the information already out there—on an extremely important news topic—easier to access. And it's hard to argue that reporting widely available public information breaks laws or puts anyone in harm's way. The original release of the information may have done that, but the app does not.

So by pulling the app, Apple has accomplished little except to make things less convenient for iPhone users (similar apps are still available in the Android Market). And while Apple is well within its rights to control the iTunes "walled garden" as it sees fit, I would prefer to live in a garden where a little less of the fruit is forbidden.


Phones and Mobile, News, Blog

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