Apple Removes Unofficial WikiLeaks Application From App Store [Updated]

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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TechCrunch notes that Apple has removed from the App Store an unofficial WikiLeaks application that had offered access to the controversial leaked government documents

As shared in a Tweet from the app's developer, Igor Barinov, the application was "removed from sale" by Apple less than three days after it was approved.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.Barinov claims that of the $1.99 purchase price for the unofficial WikiLeaks App, $1.00 would be donated to WikiLeaks, leaving only about 40 cents per sale for Barinov after accounting for Apple's take of the revenue.

We have yet to hear word from Apple on an official reason for the removal.

Update: While Apple still has yet to provide an official reason for the removal, it is possible that the application simply ran afoul of Apple's rules regarding donations. Apple's review guidelines require that application soliciting donations be free and that donations be made to recognized charitable organizations via either a website or SMS. The donation aspect of the application had been noted in its App Store description:One Dollar For Internet Freedom

Internet democracy requires funds to stay strong. By purchasing the Wikileaks app, you donate 1 dollar of the purchase price towards organizations that work to promote the future of online democracy.Update 2: Business Insider received word from Apple that the application was in fact pulled due to the content and not App Store rules regarding donations: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 declined to elaborate on the "individual or target group" it had determined was placed in "harms way" by the application.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple Removes Unofficial WikiLeaks Application From App Store [Updated]
 
Last edited by a moderator:

sbrhwkp3

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2005
533
52
Lake George, NY
Booooooooooooooooo! Leave it up, Apple.

Free speech! Be an American Company, not a puppet of the government!
 
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Roessnakhan

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2007
3,518
497
ABQ
I'd be curious to hear why it was removed - if its trying to profit off a free site, then a lot of Twitter and Wikipedia apps are guilty of this. If its just a way to disassociate themselves with WikiLeaks then that's another matter altogether.
 

GFLPraxis

macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
7,113
419
Dang, wish I'd seen it in the app store, I'd have paid.

Shameful that private companies are taking it upon them to take down bad PR for the U.S. Honestly, this should make other countries very wary of using our software, when U.S. companies (MasterCard, PayPal, Visa, now Apple?) will cut off customers that embarrass the U.S..

At least Google hasn't participated in this.
 

shartypants

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2010
921
60
I surprised Apple approved it in the first place. I'm sure they just assume stay away from controversy, wonder if they got external pressure as well... interesting.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,923
1,229
Washington DC
Why pay $1.99 for something that's free on the web? :confused:
Well, there are many apps like this. Things like the paid Twitter apps, for example. You're paying for the convinience of having something designed for the phone's screen.

As for THIS app, I think it's pretty clear Apple is simply doing the same thing all those other companies did...distancing themselves from something they don't want to be associated with.

On the one hand, I'm not pleased with that choice, but on the other hand, Safari still works just fine. (As you pointed out...it's free on the web!)

So Apple's not blocking anything from the phone...just removing things from their store. A fine distinction, but it does matter. So although I wouldn't have made the choice to remove it, I can't get all that upset over it. It's still out there and you can still find it using your iPhone.
 

verbalhijacker

macrumors newbie
Jan 12, 2009
28
0
Where are the fanboys now?

Well, Apple has shown its true colours, that is, it like every American corporation are extensions of American foreign policy. Where are the cries of 'Freedom of Speech" that Americans so gallantly profess at every given opportunity, what happened to the telling truth. Shame on you Apple, you have left your 'Think Different' slogan in favour of the Orwellian state.
 

AdeFowler

macrumors 68020
Aug 27, 2004
2,282
277
England
I surprised Apple approved it in the first place. I'm sure they just assume stay away from controversy, wonder if they got external pressure as well... interesting.
I think that's more to the point; for a company with such a fantastic PR department, Apple do some extremely dumb things every now and then.
 

Apple OC

macrumors 68040
Oct 14, 2010
3,585
3,743
Hogtown
I'd be curious to hear why it was removed - if its trying to profit off a free site, then a lot of Twitter and Wikipedia apps are guilty of this. If its just a way to disassociate themselves with WikiLeaks then that's another matter altogether.
Why would any Business want to be associated with Wikileaks?

Makes as much sense as Nike signing Bradley Manning instead of Peyton Manning to sell running shoes.

The Wikilove has clouded some people's rational thinking. Wikileaks would have a negative effect on any business.

I have never looked at Wikileaks website ... however I would guess they have zero respected paid Advertisers ... not even one. :cool:
 

Lbatson21

macrumors newbie
Dec 20, 2010
7
0
Seems like we're taking all our cues from China now. Continuing to stop the flow of info, and other issues like corporations pushing to get rid of net neutrality, seems to me like we are headed the way of Communism and Big Brother every day. Its kind of scary. Good job though to Wikileaks for all they are doing
 

Nem Wan

macrumors member
May 4, 2009
51
14
Apple does not allow apps to collect charitable donations. The developer announced that he would donate part of the purchase price to Wikileaks. Apple requires any donations be done through websites, and not through any commerce taking place in the App ecosystem.
 

nexsta

macrumors 6502
Jul 21, 2007
301
0
Everyone that is against wikileaks is destroying their image in lightspeed, apple should give a statement why they removed it.
 

occamsrazor

macrumors 6502
Feb 25, 2007
389
9
Why pay $1.99 for something that's free on the web? :confused:
For the convenience I guess. Same as every Wikipedia app. Personally I wouldn't. But I guess 4,434 people disagreed, before it was removed...
Given that it doesn't appear to have broken any TOS, all the material it shows is by definition in the public domain, I fail to see any legitimate reason for it to be removed.
 

UmichAg

macrumors member
Feb 26, 2008
88
20
Good for Apple

Freedom Speech?? This is not a matter of Freedom of Speech. Classified documents are just that - classified. There's a reason that certain items are not meant for public release. You are extremely ignorant if you don't realize that keeping certain information classified allows us to enjoy our freedom and prevent foreign entities from infringing on it.

Also, the release of the info by WL has endangered the lives of dozens of people who are risking their lives for our freedom and way of life. Once again, if you don't realize that, then you've got some serious cognitive impairments.

For most things I'm all about transparency. However, I'm not so ignorant to think that everything should be public knowledge.
 

deannnnn

macrumors 68020
Jun 4, 2007
2,034
285
New York City & South Florida
I actually just wrote a whole post about my opinions on WikiLeaks and the controversy, but you know what? This isn't a political forum. This is about Apple products. It doesn't matter what any of us think anyway, go Apple!

/opinion withheld.
 

Roessnakhan

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2007
3,518
497
ABQ
Why would any Business want to be associated with Wikileaks?

Makes as much sense as Nike signing Bradley Manning instead of Peyton Manning to sell running shoes.

The Wikilove has clouded some people's rational thinking. Wikileaks would have a negative effect on any business.

I have never looked at Wikileaks website ... however I would guess they have zero respected paid Advertisers ... not even one. :cool:
While my personal opinions of WikiLeaks are that it serves a purpose, I'm not knocking Apple for removing it, just saying that a lot more clarity needs to be brought about the situation.

Apple does not allow apps to collect charitable donations. The developer announced that he would donate part of the purchase price to Wikileaks. Apple requires any donations be done through linked websites, and not through any commerce taking place in the App ecosystem.
Isn't he allowed to do whatever he wants with the 70% he receives? However, since it makes it one of the selling points I guess I understand its removal.
 

parapup

macrumors 65816
Oct 31, 2006
1,291
49
Any Apple related leaks in Wikileaks? :p
Yes.

  • New iPhones will be released every year. They wll be increasingly amazing, magical and revolutionary every time they are released.
  • Jobs is not really human - more a cross between robots and ninjas
  • iPad2 will have camera
  • MacBook and MacBook Pro updates will be released every 6 months or as soon as Intel cranks out new CPUs. Some features will be taken away and some will be added - at some point there will be 3 GPUs in the highest end MBP - all switched on the fly at the whim of Jobs.
  • Jobs actually loves Adobe Flash and is very possesive about it to the point where he doesn't want anyone else to love it.
  • The secret distortion formula is kept in a fire-proof, unbreakable container with a camera. It opens only when Jobs performs ballet in front of it in special ballet attire.
 
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