Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Should Apple be censoring apps?

Almost a year after the death of Steve Jobs, Apple retains its deserved reputation for functionality and design.

But it's less impressive when it comes to handling issues of content, as The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) has discovered.

On its website, the BIJ compiles details of America's "covert drone war" recording strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Developer Josh Begley was anxious to highlight the work by turning it into an app.

But first Apple told him the material was "not useful or entertaining enough" and then, following a further submission, that the app "contains content that many audiences would find objectionable". In fact, the content remained the same.

The BIJ's Iain Overton is disappointed. "For Apple to justify rejecting this app because its customers might find it 'objectionable' is worrying. It smacks of censorship of the wrong sort. I am sure that many Apple customers would find the bureau's work on drones of great interest. Surely they should be allowed to decide if they want to download this app or not?" Begley, meanwhile, may take his product to Android.

Twitter: @iburrell

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