Why Did Apple Kill an App That Counted Military Drone Strikes?

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Aug. 31 2012 2:11 PM

Why Did Apple Kill an App That Counted Military Drone Strikes?

Military drone strikes are on the rise, and if you want to learn more there’s an app for that. Just don’t look for it on your Apple device.

An NYU graduate student created an app, Drone+, pinpointing locations in Pakistan where American UAVs struck supposed terrorists, only to have Apple reject it as “excessively objectionable or crude content.” Further confusing the matter, Apple allowed the same information to be used in British newspaper The Guardian's app that used the same source and displayed strikes in a nearly identical manner, albeit alongside their editorial content.

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Apple has refused to elaborate on their decision, and it's unclear if it's treating the two apps differently because one comes from a well-known media organization and the other does not, or if it's because Drone+ focuses exclusively on drone strikes.

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A new app tracking drone strikes in Pakistan has been blocked from the app store by Apple.

Photo by Jose CABEZAS/AFP/GettyImages

The decision sheds more light on Apple’s stringent app and iTunes rules. Too bad it also keeps the strikes themselves—and the company’s reason for blocking information—in the dark.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

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