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WikiLeaks App for iPhone gets pulled from the App Store

Well it was a good short run for developer Igor Barinov and his WikiLeaks application but Apple has officially pulled it from the App Store just four short days after first approving it. I wouldn't expect to see it back anytime in the future.

The app gave instant access to the WikiLeaks web content as well as provided access to the site's Twitter account. WikiLeaks has at the center of political and media controversy lately for publishing secret information in the form of documents, memos or other confidential transmissions about the government. Recently other big companies like Amazon, PayPal, Mastercard, Visa and Bank of America have all tried to get their names away from anything associated with WikiLeaks and it appears as Apple might be trying to do the same thing.

Did you download the WikiLeaks app before it got pulled from the App Store? Do you think Apple should have pulled the app even though it doesn't appear to violate any of the terms of services set forth by Apple themselves? Tell us your thoughts about the issue below.

[ TechChrunch ]

35 Comments
  • So why was this pulled again? What exactly did it violate? Other than maybe the government telling Apple they need to pull it? Or some other tin-foil-hat theory like that?
    I'm confused.
  • Embarrassing the american government. There's an app for that.
  • ack154, are you serious?
  • As I tweeted earlier,
    "Apple pulled the WIkiLeaks app. Shame on you, Apple."
  • Apple can pull any app they want at any time it's pretty simple. Now pulling some may get them into more trouble than others with regulators. But like the other companies in this story Apple probably wants nothing to do with wikileaks and I doubt they are going to run and complain about it. A reviewer let the app through bc it didn't violate any app store rules but Apple later decided it didn't want this app in the app store.
  • To be honest, you're better off just clicking any of these 1500 mirrors using Safari http://www.wikileaks.ch/Mirrors.html and following them on Twitter & Facebook.
  • First, if you bought the app, you only threw money away for what was simply a portal to information available freely through wikileaks.com and a million free twitter clients. There's no indication any of the money raised actually supports WikiLeaks (it was not Assange's organizations app), and Apple (at least so far) hasn't actually attempted to block access to WikiLeaks itself.
  • Not that I would even want this app but why is it that TiPb publishes stuff like this after it's pulled? I don't recall any instance of Easter Egg apps being written about here before they're pulled when we might actually want them. Thanks for yesterday's news as usual.
  • Good. What an irresponsible app to have in the store to begin with. You may as well have a app for connecting with child predators.
    "Yay! Here are America's national secrets! It's all in the spirit of openness. Down with censorship! Putting lives and undercover officials at mortal risk be damned! We need our fountain of official smut!"
    Ridiculous. Glad it's gone.
  • @DJ +100000000
  • Good on them. The group is run by a sexually perverted creep, who is on bail - facing rape charges.
  • I downloaded it and I fully support wikileaks. They are just exposing what a sick and twisted government we have. Assange for President! O and for the people that feel like bashing me, take it elsewhere I have no time to listen to your whining.
  • @Sting7k
    That is a beautiful summation of exactly what is wrong with the App Store, and why most of us developers treat a partnership with Apple as a necessary evil. (That, and their tech is pretty good.) The "we can do what we want, when we want, no matter what it costs you, and we don't have to tell you" mantra is anathema to any business relationship, and I will be sad when it eventually leads to iOS's decline, because it is my favorite platform to use, and pretty fun to code for.
    That said, if Apple took the time to read their own rules, they could have avoided any stink whatsoever in this case. I believe somewhere in the App Store Terms (don't have it handy at the moment) that you cannot solicit donations in a paid app. Barinov's app was not free, so if it offered means to donate to WikiLeaks (or any other organization), it would clearly be in violation of those terms, and it would be fair grounds for removal according to published guidelines.
    However, the fact that Apple apparently did not include any reason for its removal strongly suggests this was another arbitrary decision made by Apple.
  • Ferny, I think you're the one who needs to reevaluate, not ack154. The app only provided access to existing, PUBLICLY available information. You can argue all you want about whether wikileaks should have made it available (and yes, I think they've done the planet a favor by doing so), but the DEED IS DONE. The info is out there.
  • Much if not all of the information the WikiLeaks is controversial for posting was also run on respecting publishers websites and periodicals. Apple CAN pull what they want for their own purposes but I am not happy with how they exercise that right - even in this case, despite how infrequently I have checked the WL site.
    I am not incensed eiher way, though. The WL stuff is some deep, complicated $#!+.
  • The app violates the donation prohibition http://thedroidguy.com/2010/12/steve-jobs-grinch-apple-still-doesnt-supp... in the app 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.
  • I'm starting to get a little tired of the walled garden Apple has set up. I don't care if they want to remove apps they deem "offensive", but I fail to see what about Wikileaks violates Apple's terms of service or is offensive to Apple or the public in general.
    Steve has always been our benevolent dictator, but now the people are starting to demand more freedom from the sovereign.
  • Time for AnonOps to load some Payback at Apple..
  • http://nyti.ms/emzTjj
    The NYTimes quoted an Apple spokeswoman saying that Apple did not remove it for donations, but that apps
    "must comply with all local laws and may not put an individual or group in harm’s way"
    Setting aside for the moment the question of whether Wikileaks endangers anybody, I do not recall reading anything about harm's way in Apples terms, but, like I said earlier, I do not have the agreement handy. As for local laws, there is certainly a precedent for Apple pulling apps from localized App Stores due to violation of a country's laws (think skin apps in certain Middle East countries), but, if that is the case, they should also cite the relevant law or explicit government request.
  • @Frog
    He is not facing a real crime, he is facing nothing more then a conspiracy made by the American government... Everyone knows that they are not doing anything else then an attempt to shut wikileaks down.
    @Icewing and @DJ
    You seriously dont think people have the right to know the crimes of their own government?
  • I still don't understand all the fuss about Apple rejecting or removing any kind of app from their store -- it's their freakin' store and they can decide what they want to sell in there and what they don't…!
    How the hell is this any different from the guys running the convenience store down the street deciding that they don't want to sell a certain brand of cookies or soda anymore…?!
  • Oh ok Gus. I didn't realise rape wasn't a real crime...
  • @frog
    You should actually read the court documents. "Sex by surprise" is the actual charge, and it would not rise to the level of any crime in the US. It does in Sweden, but Assange's personal creepiness is totally irrelevant to the Wikileaks app.
  • Apple controls the store. Not YOU, not the goverment, not even that even that british rapist who leaked the documents because he was mad the girl didnt want sex.
    and see here I thought the british had more class. Guess throwing paint cans at the prince and his wife raping woman and leaking doucments counts as class now?
  • @Chris Gonzales
    And I guess throwing around irrelevant insults about a country when you do not even know the nationality of the person counts as intelligence now?
  • Spin, the reason they dropped it is the same reason any reasonable, publicly traded company would avoid having anything to do with a group like WikiLeaks. It has nothing to do with what WikiLeaks did. It's all about keeping the value of Apple stock as high as possible. An association with a group like WikiLeaks (direct or indirect) will have a negative impact on Apple stock and therefore a negative impact on the value of Apple. WikiLeaks is political and commercial poison.
    This is the way the world works. If you don't like it, make billions of dollars and throw your weight around. Until then you and I have to deal with others throwing their weight around. Sit back, relax and enjoy your insignificant self.
  • Morons , Assange is merely the messenger,
    Revealing our governments dirty deeds !
    Why the hate ?! If you wanna keep on hating , start by looking at the people we trust and voted on the office.
  • @all the Wikileaks lovers:
    Anytime anybody steals and then decides to spill our national secrets to the "rest" of the world, I would consider them an enemy of the state. Does there need to be more transparency by our government? Yes! Do we need classified secrets that 'most people' are already aware of leaked, thereby jeopardizing American lives and security? NO!
    Good for Apple staying clear of this one.
  • guau!, with this decision i'm starting to doubt who was who in the apple's 1984 commercial...companies like people, change
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8
  • Warlord
    A governments dirty deeds isn't anything to be proud of. Why should our government get involved in crap that might jeopardize our peoples lives if their crap is revealed.
    With your logic , our nation might as well get rid of freedom of speech :roll:
  • Classified information is just that, classified information and just because some traitor devulged this information and doesn't make it any less classified. Wikileaks should be shut down, the traitor who stole the info should be hanged, Aussange should be sent to Gitmo and Apple did the right thing by removing the app.
    Apple doesn't owe you an explanation on why an app is removed any more than any other vendor decides to discontinue a product for whatever reason they choose.
    Get over it.
  • @DOC It would help if you could spell Assange right.
  • Warlord, Doc,
    Wikileaks didn't steal the docs. They reported and published them. Same thing happened with Nixon and the watergate scandals. The news agencies didn't steal the tapes, they reported and published them. What's the difference? Both were classified materials. Or do you think that watergate was a "ggod" thing to have kept concealed too?
  • and by ggod i mean "good"
  • One can follow WikiLeaks and other non corporate media easily through Twitter. By limiting their associations, apple, PayPal, etc undermine democracy. And governments which push these behaviors should be voted out of office! Vote Green! Peripeteia.